If you think you need to get on the floor to work your abs, you’re wrong. The majority of the abdominal exercises in the fitness world require you to lie on the floor, mainly on your back. But this can be a problem for people who have back injuries or someone who has a problem getting up and down from the laying position.
You can work your abs standing up just as much as you can lying down. Standing ab exercises may actually be even more beneficial for you. They are a great way to start out if you are a beginner exerciser. Many people who are just starting out find getting down to the floor to perform crunches a bit difficult. If you begin by working your abs in the standing position, you can give your abdominal muscles a little time to warm up and get stronger before getting to the more advanced level. Now, this isn’t to say that standing ab exercises are just for beginners. They are great for everyone.
The biggest benefit of standing ab exercises is a lower risk of injury. Ab moves that are performed on the floor are not always done correctly. The basic crunch, for example, requires you to lift your neck and shoulders up off the ground. Unless they have a trainer, the majority of people do it wrong. They hold on to their neck and pull it up to get themselves off the ground. This isn’t going to work the abs and it will strain your neck. During standing moves, you don’t have this problem. It is much easier to control your neck and shoulders in a standing ab move then it is on the floor.
Another big benefit is the effectiveness of each exercise. When you are performing moves on the floor, you can only go so far. Exercises that are done on the floor sometimes involve the legs way more than they should. A lot of people tend to use their hip flexors rather than their abs. (Hip flexors are located in the front of your thigh.) Many people also tend to use their hands as well to perform some moves. During a sit-up, a lot of people swing their arms out in front of them to get their body off the floor. If you are doing that, you’re not really working the abs because you are using your arms to get up. While performing a reverse crunch, people tend to press their palms down on the floor. This also isn’t going to work the abs effectively.
So you can see that there are many downfalls to working your abs on the floor. Working your abs standing will make sure you do a safe and effective workout. If you aren’t convinced that you can get a successful ab workout standing up, perform these moves the next time you work your abs.
1) Knee Cross Crunch
This move is going to work every muscle in your stomach. To perform this move: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in one hand. Extend the arm with your dumbbell over head and put your other hand on your hip for balance. Now lower the arm that was in the air as you simultaneously bring the opposite knee up across the body so that your elbow and your knee meet. Hold this position for about a second and perform the desired number of reps. When done with one side, complete the same thing on the other side.
It’s important to make sure you are getting your knee above the hips during this move. This is what is going to target your lower abs. (The dumbbell is optional. If you are just starting out, you can perform this move only using your bodyweight.)
2) Standing Bicycle Crunch
Think you need to perform bicycle crunches on a mat? Think again. This move works the same muscles that the bicycle crunch does — all of them.
To perform this move: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out and back in line with your shoulders. Bend one knee up across the body making sure it comes at least to hip height. Keeping the knee in the air, bend the opposite side of your upper body toward the lifted knee so that you can feel the crunch. Return back to the starting position and perform the desired number of reps, alternating sides. After you do this move, you may never do bicycle crunches on the floor again.
3) The Repeater
This move, derived from a step aerobics class, awesome because not only is it a killer ab exercises but it also provides a bit of a cardio and leg workout. Since this move is used mostly in a step class, you can use a step if you’d like but it’s not necessary. It’s just as good a move on the flat floor.
To perform this move: Stand with your body on angle with one leg in the front with the knee slightly bent and the other leg in the back straight but not locking the knee. You are going to place both of your hands up above your head (your body should be on an angle, you shouldn’t be standing up straight.) Bring the knee in the front up as you pull your arms down to put the knee. Pretend that you are holding a coconut in your hands and you are trying to break it using your knee. Perform this move a pretty fast pace. When you are done doing the desired number of reps, repeat the same move on the other side.