Are Decline Sit Ups Better Than Cable Crunches?

decline sit up
April 5, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “are decline sit ups better than cable crunches?”. Both exercises are very good for building up your abdominal strength.

But are decline sit ups superior? This article will explore this topic in detail. 

Are Decline Sit Ups Better Than Cable Crunches?

This depends a lot on individual experiences. Both exercises work the abs through a full range of motion and are great for building stronger abs.

You can add weight to both exercises and apply progressive overload. It can be argued that it is easier to cheat with cable crunches. Many people bring their arms into the movement too much.

With the decline sit up it is easier to focus more on the muscle contraction and feel the movement in your abs. This doesn’t mean you can’t achieve this with the cable crunch as well.

Ultimately, you have to try both exercises out for yourself and see which one you respond better to.

decline sit up

Easier To Cheat On Cable Crunches

A lot of people will find that it is easier to cheat on cable crunches by pulling the rope with their arms. This reduces the effectiveness of the exercise in working the abs.

It is important to view your arms as hooks and not exert pressure on the rope when performing cable crunches. I am just pointing out that the cable crunch is an exercise that is more prone to cheating.

Especially when you are using heavier loads, it is harder to maintain strict form. The decline sit up on the other hand involves less cheating. Your legs are locked in place on the decline bench and you are forced to use your abs more.

It is still possible to incorporate some cheating with the decline sit up. You could involve your hip flexors into the movement more than necessary and use your arms also to move the weight up. 
cable crunches

Do Decline Sit Ups Work Your Hip Flexors Too Much?

Some people may find that their hip flexors are involved too much when doing decline sit ups. Again, this could be a function of how you initiate the movement.

When you lift your body back up from the bottom position of the decline sit up, you have to take care not to initiate from the hip flexor. Many people make this mistake and therefore bring their hip flexors into the exercise too much.

Focus your attention on contracting the abs. There is also a school of thought that says that when doing decline sit ups, you shouldn’t go all the way down. This way you can keep more tension on the abdominal muscles.

This is also the approach that I subscribe to. Matt Wenning advocates this style of training as well on the decline sit up. But again it is a personal choice.

Loading The Decline Sit Up

Loading the cable crunch is self explanatory and simple. All you need to do is change the pin position on the cable stack. 

With the decline sit up there are some options when it comes to loading. You can use weight plates or a barbell. I prefer weight plates, but the heavier you go the more cumbersome it can be.

A barbell can be a good option after a certain weight. You can just set up a decline bench in a squat rack and take the barbell out of the rack from here. Then perform the exercise as normal. 

In the video below Lee Hayward is using a barbell for decline sit ups and going through a full range of motion. For this version of the exercise it may feel more comfortable going through a full range of motion.

When I perform this exercise using plates I just go down halfway and ensure to keep the tension on my abdominals. 

How Does Each Movement Feel For You

Perhaps the most important criterion for deciding which exercise is better for you, is determining how each movement feels. Everyone responds to different exercises in a different way.

The key is to stick to exercises that you can perform safely and without pain. These are the exercises that you can progress on the best and stick to long term. 

Some people may feel that they don’t achieve good ab contractions on the cable crunch. In this case, they can try the decline sit up to see if that exercise suits them better.

In my case, I have tried both and personally I prefer the decline sit up. I find that there is less cheating and I feel the contraction in my abs much better.

I have a day where I do lighter decline sit ups for higher reps and another day where I go heavier.

>> Will Beltless Squats Make Your Abs Stronger

Final Thoughts

Are decline sit ups better than cable crunches? Ultimately it comes down to personal experiences. For me decline sit ups are a better exercise, but another person could find cable crunches to be better for them.

To make an assessment it is imperative to try both exercises and see for yourself which you prefer. You should also ensure that you perform both exercises with good technique and minimal cheating.

If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Can I Do Cable Crunches Every Day

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