Spread Eagle Sit-ups

Develop the abs and hip flexors with the Spread Eagle variation on the traditional sit-up.

Primary Muscle Abdominals
Secondary Muscle(s) None
Difficulty Intermediate
Also known as Wide Leg Sit-ups, Spread Leg Sit-ups

How to do Spread Eagle Sit-ups

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight, spread the legs apart and hook your feet under something sturdy
  2. Draw your belly button in toward the spine and contract the core body
  3. Cross your arms over your chest and with a straight back, lift the body up in a slow, deliberate movement
  4. Under control, lower the torso back to the floor
  • Most of the movement will be controlled by the hip flexors rather than abdominals
  • Use a power rack, smith machine, or doorway to support the feet

Spread Eagle Sit-ups

The Spread Eagle Sit-up is a variation on the basic sit-up exercise where the legs are straight and spread apart. It's particularly useful for strengthening the hip flexors whereas most abdominal exercises strive to take the hip flexors out of the lift to focus effort on the abs.

The hip flexors work to flex the thigh and trunk and strong hip flexors will allow for a more powerful and quicker forward leg movement. This is particularly important for almost all athletic pursuits, particularly those that involve sprinting or requiring quick bursts of power.

With the legs apart it makes it more difficult to sit-up which is what forces the body to recruit the hip flexors in order to raise the body. 

Advanced Spread Eagle Sit-ups

If you are comfortably able to perform 3 sets of 10 - 15 repetitions consider holding a weight plate (as pictured) or wearing a weighted vest to increase the difficulty of the exercise. 

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Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.