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Abdominals

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The following exercise work a range of muscles across your torso Use the quick links below to access the desired exercise:

Exercise

Part of the body worked Difficulty level (out of 10)
 
 
Side Bends

Works the muscles down the waist

Scale 2    2/10  
Standing Twist Works the muscles down the waist Scale 2    2/10  
Abdominal Curl Works the rectus abdominals Scale 3    3/10  
Oblique Curl Works the muscles down the waist Scale 3    3/10  
Oblique Curl side on  Works the muscles down the waist Scale 3   3/10  
Semi Legs flexed up Works the lower rectus abdominals Scale 7    7/10  
Reverse Crunch Works the lower rectus abdominals Scale 4    4/10  
Bicycle Crunch Works the muscles down the waist Scale 6    6/10  
The Plank Works the core muscles and lower back scale 5    5/10  
Ultimate Crunch Works the lower and upper abdominals scale 5   5/10  

Side Bends


Primary Muscles:
 
Obliques, abdominals, hip and leg muscles and spinal erectors 

Side Bend Muscles

SecondaryMuscles: 
Core Muscles

Level of Difficulty:  (2/10)   

Scale 2

Repetitions:   
     • 10-15 Reps - General toning
 

 Instructions 

  • Take a weight in each hand and hold either side of the body with palms facing inwards (toward the body). 
  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and slowly bend to the side until you feel a stretch in the opposing side of the waist (obliques).
  • Return to the start position in a controlled manner and bend to the opposite side to work the other side of the body
  • Continue smooth controlled movements for the required repetitions. 
Teaching Points  
  • Ensure you bend to the side only and not forward or back.
  • When performing the exercise do not speed up with repetitions, the action needs to be slow and controlled with no jolting, moving through the start position without stopping.  
  • Keep the shoulders back and do not lean forwards  
  • Breath out as you lower and breath in as you return to the starting position

     
     
 Adaptations  
  • Perform the exercise seated  
 Progressions  
  • Use heavier weights 
  • Decrease repetition speed 

Standing Twist


Primary Muscles:
 
Obliques, abdominals, hip and leg muscles and spinal erectors 

Side Bend Muscles

SecondaryMuscles: 
Core Muscles

Level of Difficulty:  (2/10)   

Scale 2

Repetitions: 
    
10-15 Reps - General toning
 
 

 Instructions  

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent.  
  • Hold your chosen weight outstretched in front of you with both hands.  
  • Rotate your torso 90 degrees to the left, so that you’re facing the left side with your upper body but your feet and legs still face forward. 
  • Twist back through the centre point and round to the right 90 degrees past the starting position. 
  • Repeat the rotation back to the left and then to the right continuously for the required repetitions.  
Teaching Points  
  • Do not stop in the middle, continue rotating smoothly through in a continuous motion. 
  • Do not rush through each repetition, control the rotation and engage the abdominals as you twist.  
  • Maintain a good posture with shoulder back 
  • Exhale as you twist to the side and inhale as you turn back in. 

 

 Adaptations 
  • Perform the exercise seated 
Progressions 
  • Increase weight 
  • Decrease repetition speed 

Abdominal Curl  


Primary Muscles:
 
Hip Flexors, Rectus Abs

Ab Curl Muscles

SecondaryMuscles: 
Rotator Cuff, Transverse
Abdominals, obliques, Lumbar Multifidus      

Difficulty Level: (3/10)   

Scale 3

 Repetitions: 
   
10-15 Reps - General toning
 
  

 Instructions  

  • From the set-up position place your hands on your head. 
  • Lift your head, shoulders and spine so that your chest comes up towards the knee. 
  • Once you have gone up as far as you slowly return to the starting position as you inhale. 
  • It’s important to use the core muscles to aid the movement. 
  • Some people might find it easier to support their head by placing their hands on the back of the head. 
Teaching Points  
  • Keep a 'C' shape in the spine 

  • Initiate movement from the torso not the shoulders 

  • Avoid rounding the shoulders 

  • Keep your eyes looking forward and up

  • Keep your feet on the foor

  • Exhale as you rise and inhale as you lower

  • If supporting head with hands, ensure the movement generates from the torso, not the head.

 Adaptations  
  •  Ask someone to hold your feet  
 Progressions  
  • Straighten your legs thus removing the support of the hip flexors 
  • Place your hands in the air behind your head 

Oblique Curl


Primary Muscles:
 
Hip Flexors, Rectus Abs

Oblique Curl Muscles

SecondaryMuscles: 
Rotator Cuff, Transverse Abdominals, obliques, Lumbar Multifidus     

Level of Difficulty: (3/10)   

Scale 3

Repetitions: 
   
 10-15 Reps - General toning
 
 

 Instructions 

  • From the set-up position place your hands on the back of your head.
  • Exhale as you slowly lift your head, shoulders and spine and take your right elbow across to the outside of your left knee, causing a slight twist of your torso.

  • Once at the top of your range of movement, inhale and resume back to the set-up position.

  • Repeat the exercise on the other side taking your left elbow to your right knee

Teaching Points  
  • Reach your arm to the outside of the opposite knee 
  • Initiate movement from the torso not the shoulders 
  • Avoid rounding the shoulders and forward 
  • Keep eyes looking up and forward 
  • Keep your feet on the foor 
  • Exhale as you rise and inhale as you lower 
     

 Adaptations 
  •  Ask someone to hold your feet still 
 Progressions  
  • Hold a dumbbell in the hand reaching towards your knee 

Oblique Curl Side on


Primary Muscles:
 
Hip Flexors, Rectus Abs

Side Bend Muscles

SecondaryMuscles: 
Rotator Cuff, Transverse Abdominals, obliques, Lumbar Multifidus      

Level of Difficulty: (3/10)   

Scale 3

Repetitions:  
     10-15 Reps - General toning
 
 

 Instructions 

  • From the set-up position place your hands on the back of your head.
  • Turn your legs onto the side so that your knees come together 
  • Place your hands on your head. 
  • Lift your head, shoulders and spine so that your hand slide up towards the knee.  
  • Once you have gone up as far as you can slowly return to the starting position as you inhale.  
  • It’s important to use the core muscles to aid the movement.   

Teaching Points 

  • Keep a 'C' shape in the spine 
  • Initiate movement from the torso not the shoulders 
  • Avoid rounding the shoulders 
  • Keep your eyes looking forward and up 
  • Exhale as you come up and inhale as you lower 

 

 Adaptations 
  •  Decrease the range of movement 
 Progressions  
  • Momentarily pause at the top of the movement. 

Semi Legs Flexed Up


Primary Muscles:
Lower Rectus Abs

Semi Legs Curl Muscles

Secondary_Muscles: 
Upper Rectus Abdominus, Obliques

Level of Difficulty: (7/10)   

Scale 7

Repetitions:  
    10-15 Reps - General toning                                        

 Instructions 

  • This exercise is particularly demanding and works the transverse and lower abdominals.  
  • Lie on you back in the set-up position but this time raise legs vertically.  
  • Keeping your shoulders on the ground slowly kick your feet up vertically keeping your back on the floor.  
Teaching Points  
  • Support your back by drawing your lower back into the mat while you raise both feet off the mat  
  • Keep your core mucles contracted throughout  
  • Exhale as your legs go up and inhale as they return 
  • Avoid using your arms to generate the movement  

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 Adaptations  
  • Decrease the range of movement 
  • Increase the angle in the knees 
 Progressions  
  • The shorter / tighter the fluttering distance the more intense the lower abs are worked 

Reverse crunch


Primary Muscles:
 
Lower Rectus Abs

Reverse Crunch Muscles

Secondary Muscles: 
Upper Rectus Abs, Lower back

Level of Difficulty: (4/10)  

Scale 4

 Repetitions: 
   
 10-15 Reps - General toning
                                                                                                                                                                           

 Instructions 

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor  
  • Place hands on the floor to the side 
  • Keeping your back pressed into the floor and knees bent, slowly bring your knees up towards the chest so they bend about 90° 
  • Contract your abs and bring you knees and thighs toward the chest  
  • Lower and repeat.  
  • Place hands on the floor or behind the head   
Teaching Points  
  • Keep the upper body still  
  • Exhale as your bring your legs towards you and inhale as they lower towards the floor  
  • Maintain the angle in the knees at 90° throughout the movement 
  • Avoid the lower back over arching  

 

 Adaptations  
  • Decrease range of movement  
  • Support the lower back by pressing it into the mat/floor  
 Progressions  
  • Extend legs and keep them parallel to the floor  
  • Come up into an abdominal crunch as your bring your knees toward your chest (Ultimate crunch) 

Bicycle Curl 


Primary Muscles:
Internal and External Obliques  

Bicycle Crunch Muscles

Secondary Muscles: 
Abdominus

Level of Difficulty: (6/10)   

Scale 6

Repetitions: 
    10-15 Reps - General toning

 Instructions  

  • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. 
  • Put your hands beside your head. 
  • Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle 
  • When ready start to go through a bicycle pedal like motion, extending one leg and flexing the other. 
  • Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. 
  • Breath normally   throughout the exercise 
Teaching Points  
  • Keep core muscles engaged. 
  • Do not pull up or twist using your arms, the strength comes from the abdominals 
     

 Adaptations 

  • Reduce the number of repetitions
 Progressions  
  • Increase the number of repetitions 
  • Do not alternate sides 

The Plank 


Primary Muscles:
Abdominals, Lower Back

Plank Muscles

Secondary Muscles: 
Deltoids, Pectorals

 Difficulty Level: (5/10)   

scale 5

 Frequency: 
      Hold for
 15-60 seconds
                                                                                                                         

 Instructions  

  • Lying on your front raise your chest and bring your forearms to rest on the floor underneath with the elbows sat beneath the shoulders. 
  • Activate the pelvic floor and TVA and take a breath to prepare. 
  • As you exhale lift the hips off the floor by pressing the pubic bone against the floor. 
  • When ready gently lower to starting position  
 Teaching Points  
  • Use your core strength to hold the position 
  • Keep tension out of the lower back 
  • Use a normal breathing pattern 
  • Keep the hips still 
  • To make the exercises easier drop your knees onto the floor 
  • Ensure that a straight line exists from the heels through to the shoulds. 

 Adaptations 

  • Place your knees on the floor  
  • Reduce the amount of time the position is held for  
 Progressions  
  • Increase the position held to 60seconds 
  • Place one foot over the ankle of the other 

Ultimate Curl


Primary Muscles:
 
Hip Flexors, Rectus Abs (upper and lower)

Ultimate Crunch Muscles

SecondaryMuscles: 
Rotator Cuff, Transverse Abdominals, obliques, Lumbar Multifidus

 Difficulty Level: (5/10)   

scale 5

 Repetitions: 
      
10-15 Reps - General toning
 
  

 Instructions  

  • From the set-up position place your hands on your head. 
  • Lift your head, shoulders and spine off the floor and raise your chest towards your kness 
  • At the same time bring both the legs off the floor toward your chest to perform the ultimate crunch  
  • Momentarily pause and then return your upper body and legs back to the starting position  
  • It’s important to use the core muscles to aid the movement.  
Teaching Points  
  • Keep a 'C' shape in the spine 

  • Initiate movement from the torso not the shoulders 

  • Avoid rounding the shoulders 

  • Keep your eyes looking forward and up

  • Squeeze the abdominal muscles as your legs and upper body come together 

     

 Adaptations  
  •  Revert to standard abdominal curl 
 Progressions     
  • Don't let your feet touch the floor in between each repetition 

 
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