Since those days, sit-ups have changed a lot. The sit-ups used to be done like this:
Someone would hold down your legs and you would lock your hands behind your head and pull yourself all the way up using your neck muscles.
Now, they are called crunches and you are supposed to do them in a controlled manner, while concentrating on your abdominal muscles.
You don't even hold your head anymore, but just place your hands by your ears or across your chest! I've seen people adding all sorts of fancy twists and turns, bicycling their legs or holding their legs straight up in the air.
So, what is the proper way to do a sit-up?
- Lie down.
- Put you feet flat on the floor with your legs bent at 90 degrees
- Hold your hands at your ears/temples
- Squeeze your abs and gently pull yourself up
- Lower yourself just until your shoulder blades touch the floor.
- 15 reps = fair
- 30 reps = good
- 40 reps = excellent
The other exercise I liked was a "waist" exercise which I just enjoyed doing because it was so easy. All you do is:
- Stand with legs slightly bent
- Bend to the left as far as you can, trying not to move your torso
- Go back up to centre
- Then bend to the right as far as you can without moving your torso
- For more stretch you can move the "upper" arm over your head.