Stand Up! Most abdominal exercises require you to lie on your back on the floor, often uncomfortable and impossible for those with low back injuries or people who are unable to get up and down from the prone position. To avoid these problems and barriers, you can exercise your abdominals and core standing up just as effectively as you can lying down.
Standing core exercises are safe and most effective at strengthening your abs and core. When lying on the ground, most people make the mistake of pulling on their neck, engaging their hip flexors or using their arms for momentum. You not training your abdominals this way, but you can also injure yourself. Start with standing abdominal exercises to warm up the muscles and begin to strengthen your core, as your muscles become stronger, then use more advanced floor exercises.
Try these 5 Standing Core Exercises:
1. Knee Cross Crunch
This exercise works every muscle in your stomach. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise your right arm straight over your head and slightly extend your left leg to the side with your toes pointed. Place your opposite hand on your hip for balance. Lower your right elbow and raise your left knee across your body meeting in a diagonal line. Pause momentarily then return to starting position. Perform 15 repetitions and repeat with opposite side. Be sure to bring your knee above your hips.
2. Standing Side Crunch
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and raise your right arm above your head. Place your weight on your left foot and extend your right leg slightly to the side with your toes pointed outward. Bring your right elbow down while simultaneously raising your right knee to meet. Hold for a second then return to start. Similar to the cross crunch but performed to each side rather than across. Perform 15 repetitions and switch sides and repeat.
3. Arm Rotations With Static Lunges
This exercise works the abs while building lower body endurance. While clasping your hands in front of your chest, take a step forward with your right foot into a lunge and hold. Extend your arms straight out in front of you and slowly rotate your upper body and arms to the left, hold for a second then rotate back to the center. Bring your back leg forward, together with your front foot and step out (lunge) with your left foot. Pause and rotate your arms to the right, then back to center. Continue to repeat, 15 repetitions on each side.
4. Reverse Wood Chop
Start with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Clasp your hands next to your right hip and while keeping your arms straight, lift them across your body until your hands are above the left side of your head. Engage your core as you chop upward across your body. Lower back to the start and repeat 15 more times and switch sides and repeat.
5. Medicine Ball Twist
A simple rotational exercise, hold a medicine ball or kettlebell at arms length and slowly twist all the way left, pause, return to center and twist all the way right. This is a slow, controlled movement done without using momentum.