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If you want toned abs and a smaller waist, cardiovascular exercise can help you shed fat, and targeted ab exercises can help you strengthen your muscles. Many ab exercises, however, require that you lie on the floor. If you have back or joint problems, lying down and getting back up can be challenging, and the floor can be an uncomfortable workout spot. Fortunately, you can get the ab workout you need without getting down on the floor.
Stand up straight and face straight ahead. With your legs straight, tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your spine straight. Then bend one knee to lift it 3 to 6 inches off the ground. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Do five to 10 basic lunges. Lunges strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and abs. They can also help with mobility issues, making it easier to ultimately do floor-based ab exercises. Stand facing straight ahead with your spine straight, then take a large step forward. Bend your knees and slowly lower yourself to the ground so that both knees form 90-degree angles. Return to your starting position and repeat, this time starting with the other leg. As you build strength, increase the difficulty of this exercise by bending your rear knee and lifting your foot off the ground so that you're balancing on your front foot and using your abs to help support your weight.
Try an abdominal hold. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your spine straight and tighten your abs. Then lift your feet a few inches off the floor, and complete the exercise by lifting your rear off the chair. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds and do five to 10 reps.
Do a squat by standing straight with your knees about hip-width apart. Keeping your back straight, slowly bend your knees and lower your rear backward and toward the ground. As you lower yourself, twist your torso to one side to activate your abs, then return to your starting position and repeat, this time twisting to the other side.