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How To Do Butterfly Sit Ups

What Are Butterfly Sit Ups?

How to do Butterfly Sit Ups

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Butterfly sit ups are a sit up variation where the feet are pressed against each other, with the legs creating a diamond shape. This allows for a greater range of motion and reduces the involvement from the hip flexors compared to classic sit ups.

Butterfly sit ups strengthen the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and lower back. Because this exercise allows you to move your torso closer to the pelvis, it trains the core to be strong while the spine flexes. This also allows for greater ab contraction which can aid muscle growth.

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Butterfly Sit Ups

  • Butterfly sit ups are an effective core exercise and can help to strengthen the core and build ab muscles.

  • Butterfly sit ups provide a greater range of motion than conventional sit ups and challenge the abdominals more, and can be a better option if you want to focus on the abs. Sit ups strengthen the hip flexors more, which are a core muscle. Combining both types into your routine can help to strengthen the full core.  

  • Butterfly sit ups target the core muscles, namely challenging the transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis, with the lower back also working to keep the spine stable. This exercise also gently stretches the adductors.

Tips for Butterfly Sit Ups

Minimising momentum and moving slowly with control is important to ensure the exercise is being performed optimally. If you’re using momentum, it’s likely that other joints or muscle groups are working to perform the exercise. To ensure you’re not using momentum think about breaking at the hip to lift the torso, curling your sternum towards your belly button as you come to the top of the movement.

One of the benefits of the butterfly sit up is that it provides greater range of motion compared to the conventional sit up. It’s important to ensure you’re making the most of the range, by flexing your spine until your hands can touch your feet. If you’re unable to reach your feet, work with your body’s range reaching as far forward as you can.

How To Do Butterfly Sit Ups

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your legs bent. Drop your knees to each side and place the soles of your feet together.

  2. Stretch your arms above your head and rest them on the floor. Alternatively, you can hold them in front of your chest if this is too challenging.

  3. Brace your core and lift from the hips to bring your upper body off the floor.

  4. Curl the spine to bring your hands as close to your feet as possible.

  5. Revert the movement slowly by returning to the starting position ensuring your arms are stretched above the head again.


If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.