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 the decline position where you need to put more effort to lift your torso.

So if you are a beginner or just starting with abs training, then decline sit-ups might not be the right option for you. You will use more of your legs and hip flexors or will use a lot of momentum to lift up. This will put less tension on the abs which you are trying to hit.

However, if you can do decline sit-ups effectively then it is a good exercise to strengthen your abs.

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 with you some of the best decline bench sit-up alternatives that you can do at home without equipment. So before saying that you can’t do exercises at home, you must read this article!

Muscles Worked During Decline Sit-Ups

Decline sit-up primarily targets the rectus abdominis which is your six-pack abs. Along with that, 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

Sit-up is a very popular exercise to target abs. Most of the 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 you want. So if you don’t have a decline bench don’t worry, sit-ups on the floor instead.

How to do

1. Lie on your back with both feet close together 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

V ups are another great exercise to target the abs. This is another floor exercise where you have to move both of your 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 just when you start raising 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 make sure that when you raise your legs, your lower back should not arch. 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

Butterfly sit-up is another great option you have to target your abs without any need of 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 to tilt anteriorly. This will allow you to target the abs rather than 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 such that both of your 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 then slowly return to the starting position.

Rest- 30-45 sec

Recommended reps– 15-20

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

4. Crunches

Crunches are another great alternative to decline situps. 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 on the floor 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. Make sure that whenever you do a crunch, you must only lift your torso by using your abs. If you are feeling more tension on the neck or if you use too much momentum, then you are not training your abs.

5. Plank

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 that will help you in other 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 the feet together with your toes on the floor.

2. Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and knees should be extended.

3. Bring your hips up to the point where your hips and back are in a straight line. 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 overarch your lower back. Also, you should squeeze your hips while holding the plank position.

6. Plank With Hip Twist

This is another best alternatives to side bends. If you can do planks easily, then this exercise will be a great 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 then 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 each side

Along with your abs, you will also engage your obliques and transverse abdominis. These exercises will also help you in improving your squats and other big lifts because your core is engaged in a lot of during compound movements like deadlifts and lunges. So do these exercises to improve your overall strength and performance.

7. Cross Knee Plank

Cross knee plank is an advanced version of the plank. Here you will touch your knee with one hand while being on a plank position. This will be a great alternative to a side bend because it will engage your obliques and many other small muscles present near the waist and love handles.

Targeted muscles – Obliques, abs, and transverse abdominis

How to do

1. Get down on the floor and place your arm on the floor such that 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 to 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 is in a straight line. Don’t bring your hips or torso down. Hold a plank position as you perform the movement.

This exercise is also good for those who want to challenge their core by making plank difficult. If you can do plan easily for 1-2 minutes, then 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 your form and technique is good whenever you fo these exercises.

Whenever you train your abs, make sure that you go for quality reps instead of thinking too much about quantity. For example, if you are doing sit-ups on the floor and you are finding it difficult to complete the whole 15 reps. Then that’s fine.

You don’t need to complete the exact 15 reps, even if you can do 5 reps with proper forms and can feel on the right muscles then that is enough. It’s better to do 5 proper reps instead of 15 improper reps.

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