So, after all those hard, fast situps, how’s everyone feeling?

Does it feel like someone replaced the Charmin with sandpaper, and then rubbed it over and over on the exact same spot? Do you have a cherry-sized raw patch of skin right near the top of your butt? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common problem, in the beginning, after a situp-heavy workout. Sometimes you don’t even notice it until you hop into the shower and then find yourself screaming unexpectedly. Sitting can be difficult, wearing clothes can be difficult, and right now, you’re probably thinking, “If we have to do situps tomorrow, there’s just no way.” (Don’t worry … you won’t have to.)

“Is this going to happen every time?” you wonder. “Does this happen to everyone?”

It doesn’t have to, and no.

I googled “situp butt burn” hoping that someone would have written a guide on how to avoid it, but no one did, so I’m making this stuff up from experience. I used to have permanent rugburn, but got so sick of being in so much pain that I started to pay more attention to my situp form, and that seemed to work. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, like so many other things in CF, it’s all about technique.

The raw spot is caused by the combination of sweat and material rubbing the same spot. So, you need to reduce the amount of sliding and gapping you’re doing between the abmat and the floor. You want to go as fast as possible during the WODS, but don’t let your form go and start moving all over the floor, or you’re going to feel it later. Have the abmat firmly wedged between you and the floor, with the fat side towards your butt (which seems backwards because of the graphics, but it’s correct). Keep your back glued to the abmat, and control the bottom of the situp more. Also glue your butt to the floor and try hard not to travel around and lose contact with the mat, as you lower up and down. Squeezing your butt on the way down and keeping a tight core will help you stayed glued to one spot. Avoid lifting your hips at the bottom, when you’re throwing your hands back for momentum.

That’s what works for me. I also found the following:

1) Use Bodyglide to eliminate chafing. I’ve never tried it but one Crossfitter commented that it “works like a champ.”

2) Also never tried, but it seemed to have its proponents: Keep a small towel (some said yoga matt) with you in your gym bag or car for the next situp wod, and put it down on the floor under the abmat to reduce sliding around.

3) Put a rolled up towel just above your pelvis. Never seen anyone do this, so I can’t vouch for it, but it was out there.

So, next time situps are on the program, throw on a little Bodyglide (so you can tell us if it works or not) and focus on your form. You might lose a few seconds on your time, but eventually you’ll get better at doing them quicker without moving around, and you’ll no longer have to walk around with that lovely little raspberry on your butt. It’s worth it.