Sandow’s Straight Leg Situp: Oldschool Low Rep Abdominal Exercise

This exercise is designed to bring into play the rectus abdominis and other muscles of the abdomen, and has an important effect on digestion. It should at first be performed without the dumb-bells, then with dumb-bells of increasing weight.

 

Lie flat on the back on the floor, couch or bench, covered by a rug, at full length, the arms close by the sides, the feet pushed under the bureau, weighted or strapped to the floor, to give purchase to the body; then alternately raise the body on the hip joints, from the supine to the sitting position, and slowly lower it again to the horizontal position, repeating the movements until the abdominal muscles feel the tiring effect of the exercise.

 

After a time, when the pupil has accustomed himself to the strain of the movement, he may render it more difficult by taking a dumb-bell in each hand, and, when in the prone position, raising the arms and stretching them back over the head, and then going through with the trunk-raising and lowering movements, as above described. The exercise may also be performed without weighting or strapping the feet.

 

A deep breath should be taken before raising the body, and exhaled in lowering it. In raising the body to the sitting position, it should also be bent forwards as far as possible towards the feet.

 

With the dumb-bells in the hands, it will be found advantageous also to cross the wrists over the head, and so bring the body upwards and forwards, the head locked, as it were, in the upward-extended arms and moved in unison with them.

 

For persons of full habit and having a tendency to be fat, the exercise will be found very beneficial, the increased blood-circulation absorbing the fatty deposits, and the exercise itself being unfavorable to fatty formation.

Recommended reps: 3

G. Mercer Adam, Sandow on Physical Training, J. Selwin Tait & Sons, New York 1894.

Few Important Notes

  • Tempo: slowly.
  • Breathing pattern: Pavel calls it “paradox breathing” (see Deadlift Dynamite)
  • Spine: complete stretch in the starting position, including the ribcage and shoulders (first image); slow, controlled curl (middle), hollow position before the situp and during the situp (third image).
  • Reps: low rep/heavy philosophy.

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