One of people’s major problem areas on the body is the stomach. That’s because for many, fat accumulates around the midsection. Once this starts to happen, it is hard for people to lose weight around the core. Most of abdominal exercises require people to lie on their back on the floor, which can be uncomfortable especially for people with low back injuries or people who have problems getting up and down from laying position. What most people don’t realize is that you can exercise the abdominals standing up just as much as you can lying down.
For beginners, who don’t have the strength, flexibility or agility yet, getting up and down off the floor can be difficult, and lead to injury. Standing ab exercises are safe and more effective at strengthening the core. People tend to compensate when doing floor ab exercises by pulling on their neck, engaging the hip flexors or using their arms to gain momentum. Not only are you not strengthening your abdominals this way, but by doing the exercises incorrectly you can injure yourself. By starting off with standing abdominal exercises you will warm up the muscles and begin to strengthen your core. As your muscles become stronger, you can try more advanced floor exercises, to continue strengthening your core.
Knee Cross Crunch
This exercise is used in many aerobic workouts and fitness classes because it works every muscle in your stomach. It’s normally done with high intensity and at a fast pace. However when starting out do your repetitions slowly to make sure you engage your core muscles and keep perfect form. Start by standing with feet shoulder width apart. Raise your right arm straight over your head and slightly extend your left leg to the side with your toes pointed. Put your other hand on your hip for balance. Now lower your right elbow and raise your left knee across your body meeting in a diagonal line. Hold this position for a second then return to starting position. Perform 10 repetitions and repeat with opposite side. To perform this exercise correctly make sure you bring your knee above your hips. To make this exercise harder hold a dumbbell in your hand while performing the exercise.
Standing Side Crunch
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Raise your right arm straight above your head. Put your weight on your left foot and extend your right leg slightly to the side with your toes pointed. Bring your right elbow down while simultaneously raising your right knee to meet. Hold for a second then return to start. Perform 10 repetitions and switch sides and repeat.
Arm Rotations With Static Lunges
This exercise works the abs while building lower body endurance. Start by clasping your hands in front of your chest. Take a step forward with your right foot into a lunge and hold in place. Extend your arms straight out in front of you. Slowly rotate your upper body and arms to the left, hold for a second then rotate back to center. Bring your back leg forward, together with your front foot. Step out with your left foot into a lunge. Hold and rotate your arms to the right, then back to center. Continue to repeat, 10 repetitions on each side. When starting you can modify this exercise by keeping your hands clasped in front of your chest while rotating. Focus on engaging your core muscles. As you get stronger you can extend your arms. Additionally you can rotate to both sides during each lunge. Remember to keep your leg muscles engaged to hold the lunge while rotating. To make this exercise more difficult hold a medicine ball or dumbbell while rotating your arms.
Reverse Wood Chop
Start by standing feet shoulder width apart. Slightly bend knees and clasp hands next to your right hip. Keep your arms straight and raise arms across your body until your hands are above the left side of your head. Lower back to the start. Make sure you engage your core as you slowly go through the motion. Repeat 10 more times, and then switch sides. Add more rotation to engage more muscles in the body. Squat first and rise when you bring your arms across the body and above your head. Add a medicine ball, resistance bands, or dumbbell to make this exercise more difficult.
Sarah Labdar graduated with a BA in exercise science and has worked in the medical field since. Her focus is alternative medicine and how it interacts and works in conjunction with traditional medicine.
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