Photo Credits- Woman photo created by master1305 –

Have you seen people in the gym doing sit-ups on a decline bench? It is one of the popular exercises in the gym. Decline sit-ups are a little advanced exercise because your body is in a downward position, where you need to put more effort into lifting your torso.

If you are a beginner or just starting with abs training, then decline bench sit-ups might not be the right option. You will use more of your legs and hip flexors or a lot of momentum to lift. This will put less tension on the abs that you are trying to hit. Instead, you should do other easier ab exercises, which you will find here.

Also, if you want to work out at home and you don’t have a decline bench, then let me tell you that you don’t need any equipment to train your abs.

In this article, I will share some of the best decline bench sit-up alternatives you can do at home without equipment.

Muscles Worked During Decline Sit-Ups

Decline sit-up primarily targets the rectus abdominis, which is your six-pack abs. Some secondary muscles, like the serratus anterior and obliques, are also engaged during the movement.

So, when we look for an alternative exercise, we should consider which muscles are engaged and how well that exercise targets a particular muscle. So we have looked at all aspects and selected some of the best alternatives here. So let’s discuss them.

Decline Sit-Up Alternatives

1. Floor Sit-ups

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Sit-up is a very popular exercise to target abs. Most people who go to the gym and work out will know about this exercise. You can do this easily on the floor at your home or anywhere. So, if you don’t have a decline bench, don’t worry; do sit-ups on the floor instead!

How to do

1. Lie on your back with both feet on the floor. Keep your knees bent and heels on the floor. Keep your hands on the side thighs. This will be your starting position.

2. Start the exercise by moving your torso up and exhaling on the way up. Squeeze your abs hard as you move up. Bring your torso up until the abs are fully contracted.

3. Slowly return to the starting position while inhaling on the way down. Keep your neck neutral as you move.

Rest- 45 sec

Recommended reps– 15-20

You can use the help of your thighs when you move up if it is difficult for you. Keep your neck neutral, and make sure that you squeeze your abs and push your abs down to get the maximum contraction from the abs.

2. V-Ups

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V-up is another excellent exercise to target the abs. This is another floor exercise where you must move both limbs to make a V at the end. This exercise requires good abdominal strength and balance to perform efficiently.

How to do

1. Lie on the floor while keeping both legs close to each other. Now, move your hands up and back towards the floor. Your knees should be extended. This will be your starting position.

2. Start the exercise by moving your legs and arms up together. As you move your arms, bring the torso when you raise your legs.

3. Bring your legs and hands close to each other and try to touch your legs with your hand. Make sure to exhale and squeeze your abs as you go up.

4. Then slowly return to the starting position and then repeat.

Rest- 45 sec

Recommended reps– 15-20

Always ensure that your lower back should not arch when you raise your legs. Arching the lower back during a leg raise will engage your hip flexors more than the abs. So, make sure to keep your lower back flat for better results.

3. Butterfly Sit Ups

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Butterfly sit-up is another excellent option to target your abs without needing a decline bench. This exercise works similarly to decline sit-ups.

Here, you will place your legs in a butterfly position, which prevents the pelvis from tilting anteriorly. This will allow you to target the abs rather than the hip flexors. So you can put all the tension on your abs.

How to do

1 Lie on the floor and bring both feet together so that both feet are connected. Keep your knees wide apart, and then move your hands back.

2. Start the exercise by bringing your torso up and exhaling on the way up. Squeeze your abs harder and bring your arms towards the front.

3. Stop at the top until your abs are fully contracted and slowly return to the starting position.

Rest- 30-45 sec

Recommended reps– 15-20

You can also do this exercise by holding a plate with both hands and raising your hands straight as you move the torso up. This will be an advanced move you can try if this is easy for you.

4. Crunches

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Crunches are another great alternative to decline sit-ups. This exercise can also be done on the floor. If you are someone who hasn’t started training their abs, then you can start with this simple ab exercise.

Targeted muscles – rectus abdominus, serratus anterior

How to do

1. Lie down and keep your foot on the floor with your knees bent.

2. Bring your hands back and place your fingers supporting the head. Keep your elbows out. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by lifting your torso with the help of your abs. Keep your neck neutral and look up as you move. Breathe out as you move up.

4. Stop at the top when your abs are fully contracted. Then, slowly return to the starting position.

Rest- 45 sec

Recommended reps– 15-20

You can also do this exercise by keeping your legs up, as shown in the video. Ensure you only lift your torso by using your abs whenever you crunch. If you feel more tension on the neck or use too much momentum, you are not training your abs.

5. Plank

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Plank is one of the famous and foundational exercises to strengthen the core. This exercise is very effective, especially for beginners, in building a solid foundation to help you in big lifts like deadlifts and squats.

How to do

1. Go down on your knees and place both arms on the floor with your elbows pointing out. Keep both feet together with your toes on the floor.

2. Keep your elbows aligned with your shoulders, and your knees should be extended.

3. Bring your hips up to the point where your hips and back are aligned straight. Hold this position for the prescribed number of seconds.

Time– 1-2 minutes hold ( for beginners, even 30 seconds are enough)

Make sure that you don’t overach your lower back. Also, it would be best to squeeze your hips while holding the plank position.

6. Plank With Hip Twist

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This is another best alternative to side bends. If you can do planks easily, then this exercise will be a significant variation you can add to challenge your core.

Targeted muscles – rectus abdominis (abs), obliques, and transverse abdominis

How to do

1. Go down on a plank position by placing both hands on the floor with both feet close to each other.

2. Keep your elbows under your shoulder. Your hips and back should be in a straight line. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by moving your left hip toward the floor. Keep your hips up as you move.

4. Almost touch the floor and use your core muscles to bring your hips up towards the starting position. Repeat the same procedure from the other side.

Rest- 45 sec.

Recommended reps- 15 on each side

Along with your abs, you will also engage your obliques and transverse abdominis. These exercises will also help you improve your squats and other big lifts because your core involves many compound movements like deadlifts and lunges. So, do these exercises to improve your overall strength and performance.

7. Cross Knee Plank

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Cross knee plank is an advanced version of the plank. This will be a great alternative to a side bend exercise because it will engage your obliques and many other small muscles near the waist and love handles. Do add them in your next ab workout!

Targeted muscles – Obliques, abs, and transverse abdominis

How to do

1. Get down on the floor and place your arm on the floor so your elbow is under the shoulder. Keep your toes on the floor with your back flat and glutes tight.

2. Start the exercise by lifting one arm and the opposite leg from the floor. Bend your knees and bring your knee towards the torso.

3. Touch your knee with your hand while maintaining proper form, and then place your arm and foot back on the floor.

4. Repeat the same procedure for the other side.

Rest- 45 sec

Recommended reps– 15-20

Make sure that your hips, waist, and back are in a straight line. Don’t bring your hips or torso down. Hold a plank position as you perform the movement.

This exercise also suits those who want to challenge their core by making plank difficult. If you can plan easily for 1-2 minutes, you should make plank difficult by adding these movements.

Final Words

So, these were some of the best alternatives to decline sit-ups. You can do all of these exercises at home. Make sure that you do these exercises with the proper form and technique.

When you train your abs, make sure to focus on the quality of each rep. For example, if you are doing sit-ups on the floor and are finding it challenging to complete the 15 reps, then that’s fine. You don’t need to complete the exact 15 reps; even if you can do five reps with proper form and feel on the right muscles, that is enough. It’s better to do five proper reps instead of 15 improper reps.

If you found this blog helpful, then do share it with your friends or share it on social media so that we can reach more people and grow our website. Also, share other alternatives in the comment section below if you know of any.

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