Janda Sit-Up

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Janda Sit-Up Ab Exercise

Janda Sit-Up (also known as Janda Crunch) is one of those ab exercises that can save you from suffering from a lower back pain during or after ab training. Especially if your ab exercise routine consists of lots of crunches and sit-ups with your feet hooked under a piece of furniture or abdominal bench.

Most often the reason behind the low back soreness is a body’s compensation mechanism for the weak abs. When abs are weak the body engages hip flexors and psoas to help you to get from the point A to the point B. Those muscles are attached to the spine. Thereof once they contribute too much and get too tight, they start pulling vertebrae and cause back pain.

To avoid this from happening, the hip flexors have to be deactivated during the movement. That can be done by contracting the muscles on the opposite side of the hips – the hamstrings and glutes. This reciprocally inhibits the contraction of the hip flexors and allows the abs to dominate the exercise. That’s exactly what Janda sit-up exercise was invented for.

The inventor of this exercise Czechoslovakian exercise physiologist Vladimir Janda, MD, DSc was a key figure in the 20th Century rehabilitation movement. Janda has been identified as the world’s foremost expert on back problems. According to Dr. Janda, this exercise provides a true isolation of the abdominal muscles.


  • Developes the proper strength in the abs.
  • Doesn’t cause the discomfort in the lower back during and post ab training.
  • Helps to eliminate the low back pain once and for all.


Janda Sit-Up Step 1

Anchor a resistance band around something and stick your feet through the bands. You will use the bands to pull against in order to activate the hamstrings and glutes to reciprocally inhibit the hip flexors.

Position your body on the floor in the basic sit-up position. Your knees bent in about 90-degree angle and your arms crossed over your chest.

Tighten the glutes and hamstrings by digging your heels into the floor and pulling your legs against the resistance of the bands. That will cause your hip flexors to relax. Deeply inhale.

Janda Sit-Up Step 2

Now slowly (3-4 seconds) raise your torso as high as you possibly can while fully exhaling. You may find that your range of motion of the regular sit-up cuts down significantly.

Then slowly lower yourself all the way to the floor and relax for a few seconds at the bottom. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions. Or until you are not able to execute the quality reps any more.


  • If you don’t have access to the resistance bands, there are few alternatives. You can ask your training partner to put their hands under your calves. Then pull against the hands as you attempt to sit-up. Or simply perform the exercise on your own by digging your heels hard in to the ground and squeezing your glutes up.
  • To make the exercise a level lighter keep your arms at your sides or extended in front of you. Put your hands behind your head to make the exercise tougher.
  • If you are not experiencing a tremendous tension in the abs or you can sit-up easily, you haven’t turned your hip flexors off. Put more effort in activating the hamstrings and glutes.
  • If back pain occurs during the exercise, check your form. If the form isn’t the issue, terminate the exercise and consult your physician.
  • Do not perform this exercise if you have problems with spinal discs.


About Matiss Bartulis

Sweets and pizza addict. Online and real-life fitness coach. Author of the "From Fat To Six Pack" E-mail training course. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.

  • I don’t know the date on this article so I may be real late to the game here but my understanding of the Janda sit-up is that it is to be performed with your feet FLAT on the ground, not with your toes up. Also the bands need to be pulling at a 45 degree angle up and attached at mid-calve level. That itself changes the name of the game here. Try it and see the difference.