FitChal #1 Finale: Max Sit-Ups in 1 Minute

So, it’s February 1st – which means I need to see how I’ve done with my monthly fitness challenge. The focus on January was as many sit-ups as possible in one minute.


As I mentioned before, sit-ups aren’t actually a great ab workout in themselves. They use the hip flexors and only work the top part of your abs, not the bottom. So when I was training, I started out by focusing on planks and slow butterfly sit-ups. On somedays I would do my old gymnastics routine of 35 V-ups, 50 tuck-ups and 100 hollow back kicks.

Then someone emailed me who had been in the army and gave me some advice:

1. Sits ups are all about your hip flexors. So if you train sit ups with alot of bend in your knees. Meaning your feet are as close to your butt as possible you will see a noticeable gain in your sit up numbers. To get started they will be tough.

2. When going for numbers try alternating between the left and right side of your abdomen.

These are the tricks I use in the Army to get close to 100 situps in 2 minutes.

So while I still wouldn’t recommend sit-ups as a good ab workout, for the purposes of the challenge, I ended up training actual sit-ups in the gym, especially with the piece of equipment that lets me go below horizontal at the bottom of my sit-up (see below)


So if you didn’t watch the video – I ended up doing 55 sit-ups in one minute.

That’s a 25% improvement on the 44 I did at the beginning of the month. Because I like to workout my entire body, I didn’t do many “ab workout” days – where I only worked my abs. It was usually added ontop of some other exercises: after a run, in between lifting sessions, etc

I had set a stretch goal of 60 which I wasn’t able to make but I’m still happy with the improvement.

Next Month: Help me choose between Burpees and Handstand Pushups

I wanted to do some kind of pushup workout for my February challenge – but I want to put it in your hands.

Pushup Burpees: a great fullbody workout that hits your aerobic and strength systems

Handstand Pushups: a fun gymnastics maneuver that builds shoulders, back, triceps and balance.

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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and talent expert. He is CEO of a performance hiring platform called Headlight, a Fast Company contributor, and an advocate for Asian American men. Follow him on Twitter at @jasonshen and subscribe to his private newsletter.

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