Who likes to do abdominal exercises? Show of hands please? Pretty much nobody does and yet getting a nice flat stomach is almost always the number one goal for women at the gym (a tighter butt is a close number two but that is another article).
But using the various machines or lying on the ground is boring. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a total abdominal workout without using a single machine or lying on a dusty matt? Well we have just what the doctor ordered!
There might be a misconception that you have to be in a certain position to work your trunk or abdominal muscles. The truth is that you don’t and in fact standing abdominal exercises are often simpler to learn for beginners because it is easier to feel your muscles working in an upright position. Plus you really reduce the risk of injuring your back from a standing position. Many times people torque their neck or use too much weight placing strain on the hip flexors. This can then cause issues along the entire spine from top to bottom.
On top of that, standing exercises typically allow a greater range of motion. That means a more effective workout and tighter, more tone muscles. That is not to say that working your abdominals from a lying position isn’t effective, but it can easily be done from a standing position so stand up and let’s get to it!
High Knee Thrusts – This exercise is based off of Muy Thai kickboxing. You stand with one foot forward and the other slightly back. Both legs should be slightly bent. Raise your hands almost overhead (above your forehead) and touch your hands together. Quickly raise your front knee off the ground straight up as high as it goes while simultaneously bringing your hands down to lightly slap the top of your knee. Do as many reps as you can as fast as you can before switching your leg stance and repeating with the other side.
Cross Crunches – Grab a 5 pound dumbbell and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the dumbbell in your right hand and raise that arm straight overhead. Raise your left knee up as high as possible while dropping your right elbow down to touch it. Hold that position for a half second while exhaling then return to the starting position. Aim for 20 to 30 reps then switch sides. If the dumbbell is too much to start with you can use no weight.
Kick Touches – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms stretched straight out to the side. Kick your left foot straight forward and up making sure your foot gets higher than your hips while simultaneously bringing your right hand over to touch the toes of your left foot. Repeat on the other side for one total rep. Aim for 20 to 30 reps of this brutal abdominal burner.
Remember to not overwork your abdominals. This workout done as a circuit two to three times through should have your aching. Then simply aim for doing this ab-burner 2-3 times a week and enjoy the results!