Ab Scissor

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Ab Scissor Exercise

This is a standard exercise in most gyms. Unfortunately, it’s commonly done wrong. See, this exercise is supposed to be a transverse abdominus exercise designed to help you hold your abs in and rotate your pelvis. Most people are just focusing on lifting their legs. Doing it wrong only results in strengthening your hip flexor muscles.

Benefits

Strengthens the transverse abdominus muscle that hold your stomach in.

 

Body Parts Usedtextbook drawing of the abdominal muscles

Scissor exercises are designed to mostly focus on your transverse abdominus muscles. These help hold in your stomach muscles.

 

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Instructions for Scissor Exercise

  • Lie on your back on a mat or soft surface.
  • Raise your legs straight up from your hips.
  • Your spine should be in a neutral position (no high arch) or even more flattened.
  • Tighten your ab muscles to not allow any more movement of your spine throughout the exercise.
  • Lower one leg toward the floor only as low as you can before your slow back starts to raise up off the floor.
  • Once that elevation is reached, start to raise that leg to it’s starting position while lowering the other leg to the same position.
  • Continue until fatigued.

Variations (all are good and valid options)

  • Bending the knees makes it easier if needed.
  • Raise your shoulders off the floor to increase the intensity if needed.
Similar Exercises

Sample Routine

If you were interested in a sit up workout, I suggest you instead see samples of complete ab workout routines.

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

Vacuum Exercise

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Vacuum Exercise

Vacuums are a surprisingly effective ab exercise. They seem very simple and admittedly strange, but they are good. They can be performed standing, sitting or lying supine. If you’ve read my stuff, you know that I don’t believe that ab exercises actually flatten your stomach, but these actually do strengthen the muscles that hold things in. So, although they don’t burn belly fat (none do) they will aid in flattening your stomach.

 

Benefits

Primarily works the transverse abdominal muscles that hold your stomach in.

 

Body Parts Used

textbook drawing of the abdominal muscles

All ab muscles are used in this exercise, but can be great for the transverse abdominus if the pelvis is rotated forward.

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Instructions

  • Stand, kneel or lie on your back.
  • Inhale as you “suck in” your stomach as far as you can. Imagine trying to touch your belly button to your spine.
  • Without letting your stomach muscles relax, start breathing.
  • Hold this position as long as possible.
  • Shoot for 30 secs at first. Over time you can build up to more.

Similar Exercises

Sample Routine

Go here to see samples of complete ab workout routines.

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

Ab Wheel Exercise

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Ab Wheel Exercise

I have never been more sore than after the first time I used an Ab Wheel. What’s interesting was that I was actually in good shape and had pretty strong abs at the time. But, this exercise is one of the hardest and different than other exercises. I strongly consider this a high intensity exercise and only recommend it if you build into it slowly. That would entail starting with only a few reps and also restricted range of motion. Meaning, don’t roll all the way out until you have built into it.

 

Benefits

Helps posture by stabilizing your spine and pelvis. Great exercise for athletes to train them to maintain a strong spine.

 

Body Parts Used

textbook drawing of the abdominal muscles

All ab muscles are used in this exercise, but can be great for the transverse abdominus if the pelvis is rotated forward.

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Instructions

  • Kneel down on a mat or soft surface with an Ab Wheel in front of you.
  • Holding the wheel firmly from both handles, roll out only to a comfortable distance that you could easily roll back.
  • Maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise (don’t sway or arch your back).
  • Repeat going a little further until you are at a distance that is challenging but manageable.
  • Inhale on the way out and exhale on the way in.
  • If possible, maintain a forward rotation of your pelvis to strengthen your internal obliques.

Similar Exercises

Sample Routine

Go here to see samples of complete ab workout routines.

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

Plank Exercise

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Planks Exercise

Planks are great exercises for the abs. I like them because they strengthen your abs in the position that they are in most of the time, straight. If done correctly, they are a great exercise for stressing the transverse abdominus.

 

Benefits

Helps posture by stabilizing your spine and pelvis. Great exercise for athletes to train them to maintain a strong spine.

 

Body Parts Used

textbook drawing of the abdominal muscles

All ab muscles are used in this exercise, but can be great for the transverse abdominus if the pelvis is rotated forward.

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Instructions

  • Hold yourself in a plank position.
  • Make sure to rotate your pelvis forward during this exercise.
  • Make sure to breathe although your abdominal muscles will be tight.
  • Hold for as long as you can. 1 minute is a good goal.
  • Turn to your other side and repeat.

Similar Exercises

Sample Routine

Go here to see samples of complete ab workout routines.

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

TRX Oblique Crunch

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TRX Oblique Crunch

This is a great exercise that uses a tremendous amount of muscle. It’s very similar to the TRX crunch, but incorporates more oblique muscles. If you don’t have a TRX system, make sure you see Related Exercises below to see some that are similar.

 

Benefits

Strengthens the entire core area, but places extra emphasis on the external obliques. It helps flex the spine and maintain control over abdominal muscles and helps stabilize your spine and pelvis.

 

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Body Parts Usedtextbook drawing of the abdominal muscles

Main focus is on the external obliques and the rectus abdominus.

Instructions

  • Insert your feet into the TRX straps so that they work while in the prone position.
  • Place yourself in a push up position where when you are fully extended, the straps are straight up and down.
  • Exhale as you tighten your abs and pull your knees to the outside of one knee.
  • Inhale as you return to nearly the starting position.
  • Repeat for as many repetitions as desired.

Variations

You can alternate directions or stay one one side until fatigue.

Similar Exercises

Sample Routine

Go here to see samples of complete ab workout routines.

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton