Sit-ups have always been a part of any abdominal exercise. If you want to have sculpted abs, most trainers and YouTube videos will encourage you to do at least 30 of them. But did you know that they aren’t recommended?

For one thing, they give a lot of strain on your spine which is the last organ you want to damage. So it’s time to replace this traditional exercise with something else.

5 Exercises to Replace Sit-ups

1. Front and Side Planks

Ever since planks became a thing, it has now become a must-have in any ab workout. Why? It’s a full body exercise where you rely on your core for balance.

All you have to do is to do a front plank for 30 seconds and repeat it for three times. Sounds easy right? Wait until you increase that time to 1 minute. You will notice that your entire core will start shaking.

The same goes for side planks. Side planks work the whole core except that it has a greater impact on your obliques. If balancing on one elbow was hard, then you can expect to have it harder for this exercise.

2. Leg Raises

If you want to work the lower part of your abs, then raises can definitely replace your usual crunches (which also strain the spine).

To do a leg raise, simply lie flat on your back and then lift both your legs until they’re perpendicular to the floor.

Move them down slowly until they are a few inches off the ground. The slow and elevated movement of your legs will exercise your lower abs and eliminate that muffin top.

3. Russian Twists

Russian twists can easily be done without any equipment. All you have to do is to sit on a mat, put your legs in an inverted V to the floor, and lift those feet a few inches above the ground.

Once you are in this position, slant your back so it is in a 45-degree angle to the mat. Then with your two hands positioned in front of your chest, twist to one side until one elbow is aligned to your spine. Go back to the middle and bend towards the other side.

4. Shoulder Bridges

Shoulder bridges are a common ab workout simply because they also help your back relax. It serves as a dual purpose because while you rest your weight on your shoulders, you eliminate the muffin top you have.

There are many variations to shoulder bridges and if you want to go the extra mile, you can hold a weight right above your abs.

5. Pendulum

The pendulum exercises are also known as window washers simply because your legs go from one side to another similar to a window washer.

Go into the same position as leg raises and instead of pushing your legs down, you move them from side to side. This helps sculpt your obliques while focusing on your lower abs.

Sit-ups are known to be a must-have for ab workouts, but this shouldn’t be since they could potentially damage your spine. Switch to movements that don’t require you to curl up your spine.