Core workout programs can look very different with how many exercises there are. Find out how to do V-ups and what they are good for.
V-ups, also known as V sit-ups, are an exercise where raise both your legs and upper body from a lying position to make a V-shape.
This movement will mainly work your abs and hip flexors and to some extent your obliques.
V-ups will also be relatively challenging in terms of balance and coordination.
This can be a good thing if you also want to train these fitness components but can also be suboptimal if you are only interested in training your core muscles.
Additionally, the arm swinging in V-ups makes it so you work your abs less than you could.
Another thing worth mentioning is that some people will find V-ups too challenging on their spines.
In short, people who just want to work their abs and obliques and don’t care about the balance and coordination likely want to choose one of the V-up alternatives instead.
How to do a V-up
Doing V-ups on a soft surface can make the exercise a lot more comfortable. That aside, take the following steps to do a V-up:
- Lie down on your back with your legs together. Beginners want to hold their arms against their chests. Advanced individuals can point these above their heads.
- Curl up your upper body starting with your shoulders and continuing with the rest of your spine. At the same time, lift your legs while keeping them slightly less than stretched. Time it so your body makes a V-shape in the middle.
- Slowly lower your legs and upper body again by reversing step 2. If you plan to do more repetitions you can keep your legs hovering in the air.
The full version of V-ups where you hold your arms above your head can be challenging.
For this reason, ab training beginners can start with their arms against their chest.
Muscles worked with V-ups
V-ups mainly work your abs and hip flexors. You will also work your obliques to some extent to keep your upper body going in the right trajectory.
One downside of V-ups is that it is easy to use the swinging of your arms instead of your ab muscle power to curl up your upper body.
This leads to less of an ab workout.
That aside, you also want to keep in mind that you should still do enough V-ups with enough resistance to be able to grow and strengthen your abs and hip flexors.
For example, you want to do about 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (and even up to 50) V-ups with a challenging weight to grow your muscles.
You could do V-up workouts like this every day but every two or three days offers nice results too.
Advanced lifters may need to do one of the weighted V-ups to get into the optimal ranges above.
This can mean holding some weight against your chest and/or wearing ankle weights.
V-ups are not always the best exercise but their combination of specific benefits can be good for certain situations and people. Some of these benefits are:
- Stronger muscles: Implementing V-ups in the right repetition and challenge ranges can help you grow and strengthen your abs and hip flexors.
- No equipment or location required: Because V-ups are a bodyweight exercise, you don’t need to invest in any equipment or move yourself to certain locations to do them.
- Balance & coordination: Your first few repetitions of V-ups may not look very elegant. This is because V-ups are challenging in terms of balance and coordination which can lead to improvements in these skills.
These benefits could be enough to convince you to do V-ups even though they may not be optimal for ab training.
You don’t have to stick to V-ups to get good ab, hip flexor, and oblique workouts. These V-up alternatives can be good options too:
- Bicycle crunches
- Knee raises on the captain’s chair
- Ab wheel roll-out
- Plank exercises
What you like and don’t like about V-ups will influence what alternatives are the best choices for you. The fitness equipment you have available plays a role too.
Are V-ups a good exercise?
V-ups can be a good exercise for people who want to combine ab, hip flexor, balance, and coordination training.
More advanced lifters may need extra weights to make the movement challenging enough to reach their fitness goals.
That being said, it is worth mentioning that some people will find V-ups too uncomfortable to do.
The arm swinging involved can also reduce the effectiveness of your ab workout.
If you mostly care about growing and strengthening your abs, hip flexors, and obliques, you likely want to choose exercises different from V-ups.
At the same time, doing V-ups can also still offer benefits.
What are V-ups good for?
V-ups are good for working your abs, hip flexors, balance, and coordination in one movement.
Are V-ups better than crunches?
V-ups can be better than crunches for working your hip flexors, obliques, balance, and coordination. On the other hand, crunches will be more comfortable in a good way and more effective for working your abs.