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Abdominal Exercise

Abdominal Exercise can make a real difference to the way you look, but you have to be careful with the type of exercises that you do.

Ensure when you do ab exercise that you support your back as much as possible throughout. There is no easy route to a firm stomach - you are going to have to work!

What Are Good Abdominal Exercises?

The upper and lower abdominal muscles are not really separate muscles and as such cannot truly be isolated by a single abdominal exercise, exercises stress the whole abdominal region. However, some exercises will tend towards developing either the upper or the lower, depending on what you are after. We've divided the exercises into upper and lower ab exercises. You can focus on the upper clusters by moving just the torso and the lower clusters by moving the pelvis.

Starting Abdominal Exercise

If you have not done any abdominal exercise recently then you should start with a few easy exercises. Try the Front Leg Raise, the Stomach Tuck-In and Waist Twists. These exercises will prepare you for more intense ab exercises. Once you feel more comfortable with these exercises you can move onto both the lower abdominal exercise and the upper abdominal exercise. If you feel any discomfort during any of these abdominal exercises then stop exercising. Keep your movements smooth and slow, and do not overexert yourself. As with any exercise you should warm up beforehand, and make sure that you have consulted your medical practitioner.

Lower Ab Exercise

Lying Leg Raises
Firstly ensure that your legs are slightly bent throughout this exercise.
• Lie on your back with your hands, palms down under your buttocks.
• Raise your legs about 12 inches off the floor and hold them there.
• Make sure the base of your spine is pressed against the floor (this will ensure that your back has the correct support).
• Now trying to use just your lower abs, tilt your pelvis and raise your legs a further 6 inches.
• Hold for a few seconds then return to your original position.
• Keep going with this exercise until you can feel it in your abs.

Reverse Crunch
• Lying on your back on the floor, hold onto a table leg to help keep your torso against the floor throughout the exercise.
• Keep the knees slightly bent.
• Pull your pelvis and legs up slowly so that your knees are above your chest.
• Slowly return to beginning position.

Upper Ab Exercises

Cross-Knee Crunches
The Cross-Knee Crunch is a slight variation on the regular crunch (which you can find out about along with the sit-up at Sit Ups and Crunches).
• Like ab crunches, you start by lying on the floor with your knees bent.
• Instead of crunching forwards and backwards you should crunch diagonally so that you try to move each shoulder toward the opposite hip, moving shoulders alternately.
• At the top position, one shoulder and one hip should be off the ground.
• Ensure every crunch is done slowly to get the maximum benefit.

If you find you have problems with your form or balance during these exercises it may be worth investing in an Abdominal Exercise Machine. These machines offer back support and prevent injury. For more information click Abdominal Machine

Find more great exercises in the Exercise At Home pages.

Choose another Exercise

If you would like some more information on Abdominal exercise that have a look at our Stomach Exercise resource page.