The Benefits of Curl Ups
Curlups, or situps, are a classic calisthenic exercise. They are performed in physical education classes and military workouts on a daily basis. Although curlups are a simple, basic exercise, they offer many benefits to those who practice them regularly.
Improved Muscular Strength
Curlups are an effective way to strengthen the muscles of your abdomen, specifically the rectus abdominis -- the muscle that forms the infamous six-pack. Adding a twist to the standard curlup will also target the oblique muscles on the sides of your abdomen. Strong abdominal muscles not only look better, but they also provide more stability for your entire trunk. You can really strengthen these muscles by holding a weight plate or a medicine ball above your chest as you perform your curlup workout.
Improved Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance is the ability of your muscles to move in a continuous, repetitive fashion without tiring. The nature of the curlup demands just that. When you first started working out, you were probably only able to do 10 to 15 curlups before your abs tired and you felt a peculiar burning sensation in the muscles. After a few weeks of training, you were likely able to easily perform 20 to 30 curlups without tiring -- that is improved endurance. Fatigue-resistant abdominals are not only important for the feat of completing more curlups, but also for maintaining proper, upright posture throughout the day. The stronger your abs are, the less your spine is forced to work to keep your body upright.
Improved Overall Health
Curlups not only improve the muscle tone of your midsection, but they can also help improve your overall well-being. Yoga practitioners hold that strengthening your abdominal muscles will improve your digestion, energy and vitality by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery while also increasing the removal of toxins. The strength of your abdominal muscles also has a lot to do with the health of your spine. According to Dr. Peter F. Ullrich, weak abdominal muscles cause hip flexor muscles to tighten, leading to an increase in the curve of the low back. This increased curve often results in low back pain, which can be aggravated by sitting at your desk for long periods of time. Keep your body healthy and pain-free by including curlups into your regular routine.
The basic nature of the curlup makes it an extremely convenient exercise. There is no special equipment required to practice curlups; in fact you don't even have to worry about fancy workout clothes. To get a good curlup workout, all you really need is somewhere to lie flat on your back. Curlups can be done at home, at the gym, in a hotel room, even at the the office if you're really dedicated.
Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.