While enjoying my daily tour of online forums and question & answer sites, one query appeared to pop up over-and-over again:
“Will 100 Sit Ups a Day Tone My Stomach?”
In fact, this very question was especially prevalent on Quora and Reddit.
I read some fairly decent tips, as well as some pretty awful advice.
So, I think it’s only fair that I give you my view of this extremely popular ab-related question.
Will 100 Sit Ups a Day Tone My Stomach?
Sit ups alone will not tone your stomach. You need to perform full-body workouts, cardio/conditioning, as well as specific ab exercises. This will ensure that you burn excess stomach fat. You should also focus on diet and nutrition when it comes to toning up your midsection.
Why 100 Sit Ups a Day WON’T Tone Your Stomach
I’m sure there will be just as many people who will say that performing 100 sit ups a day is a great way to get a toned midsection.
However, the real issue is whether you are lean enough for your abs to show in the first place.
You can do all the sit ups, crunches, and ab exercises you want, but if your stomach muscles are hidden under a layer of fat, then you’ll never get to see a set of toned and defined abs.
In fact, there is research that proves that you’ll need to perform around 22,000 sit ups or crunches just to burn 1 pound of fat.
So, just looking at the example of performing 100 sit ups a day, it would take 220 days to burn a pound of fat.
Therefore, you’re looking at just over 7 months.
Most of us are more than capable of burning 1 pound of fat a week without performing a single sit up.
In order to be lean enough to have a toned stomach, most men will need to have a body fat percentage of around 10-15%, whereas for women this figure is 15-22%.
So, initially you have to be honest with yourself and consider how much excess body fat you’re carrying.
Why You Shouldn’t Do Sit Ups (or Crunches) At All
Sit ups and crunches have typically always been the “go-to” exercises for anyone looking to whittle down their waistline.
However, these exercises actually do more harm than good.
Lower Back Issues
The biggest problem with sit ups and crunches is that they literally wreck your lower back.
In fact, a 1995 study claimed that sit ups placed over 3,000N of force on the lower back.
In layman’s terms, this is the equivalent of getting a 300kg person to lie on and then trying to “sit up”.
As you can imagine, the constant spinal flexion caused by sit ups and crunches may eventually lead to a herniated disc.
Whether this is in the neck or the back is neither here nor there.
The Spine Ages Like The Rest Of The Body
Your spine actually has a shelf life.
The more you flex your spine, the more it starts to deteriorate and age.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a process that you can reverse or repair.
So, why would you try to age the spine faster by continually flexing it in the hope of producing a toned stomach?
You’re Not Actually Working Your Core
I know we all like to concentrate on our stomach and find the best way to make it look great.
But, it’s actually far more important to strengthen your core as a whole.
The core encompasses the front, back, and sides of your entire midsection.
However, as we can only see the front area in its entirety, this is where we tend to focus our attention.
The core is intended to help us stand, bend, extend, reach, and twist.
And sit ups or crunches don’t replicate these movements in any way.
So, if you want to tone your stomach, you need to start focusing on more functional movements for the core.
If you’re looking for a sleek, sexy, and toned midsection then you’ll need to work the rectus abdominis, the deep abdominal muscles, transverse abdominis, and the obliques.
The “burn” that you typically feel when performing sit ups (or crunches) is because you’re working the rectus abdominis.
However, you’re not working it in the right way.
In truth, this is pretty much a useless burn and won’t deliver any real lasting results.
RELATED====>Crunchless Core Review
What Should You Do If You Want a Toned Stomach?
As I’ve mentioned, the best way to reveal a toned midsection is to first remove those stubborn layers of fat.
The best way to start burning belly fat is to ramp up your metabolism.
Your metabolism is hard at work every single day and helps you to burn calories, even while you’re at rest.
In order to raise your metabolic rate so that you burn even more calories throughout the day, you should focus on full-body exercises.
The reason for this is simple.
The more muscles of the body you use during exercise, the more calories you burn, and the more likely you are to burn belly fat.
The easiest way to achieve this is to focus on working your entire body during a workout rather than specifically focusing on just one area.
Strengthening Your Core
This is where the actual ab work starts.
You’re using full-body exercises to raise your metabolic rate, so now you can focus on specific ab and core exercises which is what will give you that definition.
The best way to achieve this is to complete a circuit of exercises that concentrate on all the functional movements your core is intended to make.
This means that you should be performing exercises that require you to bend, extend, reach and twist.
10-Minute Core and Abs Workout
By performing short, but intense, conditioning workouts you have the opportunity to start burning stubborn lower belly fat.
I’m sure most of you are probably aware that getting rid of lower belly fat seems to be much harder than anywhere else on the body.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.
Short bouts of conditioning that really rev up your heart-rate are ideal for raising your metabolism even more and turning your body into a fat-burning machine.
Diet and Nutrition
The biggest mistake that most people make when it comes to toning their stomach is with diet and nutrition.
It’s true to say that if you want to lose weight that you will need to eat at a calorie deficit.
Basically, you will need to consume fewer calories a day than you are burning.
However, reducing body fat, and especially belly fat, is very different from losing weight.
If you’re in fairly decent shape, and simply want to remove that layer of fat around your waist to reveal a beautiful sculpted core, then you don’t actually require calorie-restriction.
This is more about eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
You will need more of a focus on whole foods, as opposed to processed foods.
That being said, you don’t have to give up your favourite foods in order to tone your stomach.
And please don’t make the mistake of starving yourself, an option that many people think will produce a beautiful, toned waistline.
Unfortunately, by starving yourself or undereating your body will literally go into “survival mode”.
Firstly, the brain will tell the body that it is starving, which will initially produce the stress hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol can actually start to break down lean muscle, which means that you’ll be burning fewer calories (and body fat) every day.
The body also tends to store fat when it thinks it is in “survival mode”, as it doesn’t know where it’s next meal is coming from.
Therefore, this “stored fat” is being saved for future energy use.
So, whatever you do, please don’t starve yourself in the hope of producing a toned stomach.
It will basically have the opposite effect.
So, irrespective of what you hear, performing 100 sit ups a day will not tone your stomach.
That being said, if you are fairly lean and have very low body fat, then 100 sit ups a day may work, but don’t forget that you’re literally killing your spine in the process.
The best way to achieve a toned stomach is through a combination of full-body workouts, specific ab exercises, and some form of conditioning work.
Plus, don’t forget that your diet and nutrition plays a big part as well, although you should never starve yourself.
If you want to learn how to put all these factors together and produce that beautiful, toned stomach you long for, then check out my Crunchless Core Review.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.