Lee Walker Personal Training
Lee Walker Personal Training

ABDOMINALS AND OBLIQUES

A selection of abdominal and oblique exercises my clients get to enjoy!

All exercises can be adapted to increase or decrease workloads.

 

The centre of the body and central to any training programme

 

 

 

ADVANCED KETTLE BELL WINDMILL

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

Type: Strength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Other MusclesGlutesHamstrings,Shoulders

EquipmentKettlebells

Mechanics TypeIsolation

Level: Intermediate

SportNo

ForcePush

 

  1. Clean and press a kettlebell overhead with one arm.
  2. Keeping the kettlebell locked out at all times, push your butt out in the direction of the locked out kettlebell. Keep the non-working arm behind your back and turn your feet out at a forty-five degree angle from the arm with the kettlebell.
  3. Lower yourself as far as possible.
  4. Pause for a second and reverse the motion back to the starting position.

 

3/4 Sit Up

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

Equipment: Body Only

Mechanics TypeCompound

Level: Beginner

SportNo

Force: Pull

 

  1. Lie down on the floor and secure your feet. Your legs should be bent at the knees.
  2. Place your hands behind or to the side of your head. You will begin with your back on the ground. This will be your starting position.
  3. Flex your hips and spine to raise your torso toward your knees.
  4. At the top of the contraction your torso should be perpendicular to the ground. Reverse the motion, going only ¾ of the way down.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

 

Ab Crunch Machine

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

Type: Strength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Equipment: Machine

Mechanics TypeIsolation

Level: Intermediate

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Select a light resistance and sit down on the ab machine placing your feet under the pads provided and grabbing the top handles. Your arms should be bent at a 90 degree angle as you rest the triceps on the pads provided. This will be your starting position.
  2. At the same time, begin to lift the legs up as you crunch your upper torso. Breathe out as you perform this movement. Tip: Be sure to use a slow and controlled motion. Concentrate on using your abs to move the weight while relaxing your legs and feet.
  3. After a second pause, slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in.
  4. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Caution:

  • For this exercise, always select a weight that you can easily handle as using too much weight can easily lead to injury.

 

Alternate Heel Touch

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

Type: Strength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

EquipmentBody Only

Mechanics TypeIsolation

Level: Beginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Lie on the floor with the knees bent and the feet on the floor around 18-24 inches apart. Your arms should be extended by your side. This will be your starting position.
  2. Crunch over your torso forward and up about 3-4 inches to the right side and touch your right heel as you hold the contraction for a second. Exhale while performing this movement.
  3. Now go back slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
  4. Now crunch over your torso forward and up around 3-4 inches to the left side and touch your left heel as you hold the contraction for a second. Exhale while performing this movement and then go back to the starting position as you inhale. Now that both heels have been touched, that is considered 1 repetition.
  5. Continue alternating sides in this manner until all prescribed repetitions are done.

 

Roll Out From Knees

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Other MusclesLower Back,Shoulders

EquipmentBarbell

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelExpert

Sport: No

Force: Pull

 

  1. Hold an Olympic barbell loaded with 5-10lbs on each side and kneel on the floor.
  2. Now place the barbell on the floor in front of you so that you are on all your hands and knees (as in a kneeling push up position). This will be your starting position.
  3. Slowly roll the barbell straight forward, stretching your body into a straight position. Tip: Go down as far as you can without touching the floor with your body. Breathe in during this portion of the movement.
  4. After a second pause at the stretched position, start pulling yourself back to the starting position as you breathe out. Tip: Go slowly and keep your abs tight at all times.

Caution: This exercise is for advanced level athletes only. It is also not advised for people with lower back problems or hernias.

Variations: If you are really advanced you can perform the exercise without the knees bent.

 

Bench Bar Roll Out

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

Type: Strength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

Other Muscles: GlutesHamstrings,LatsShoulders

Equipment: Barbell

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelIntermediate

SportNo

Force: Pull

 

  1. Place a loaded barbell on the ground, near the end of a bench. Kneel with both legs on the bench, and take a medium to narrow grip on the barbell. This will be your starting position.
  2. To begin, extend through the hips to slowly roll the bar forward. As you roll out, flex the shoulder to roll the bar above your head. Ensure that your arms remain extended throughout the movement.
  3. When the bar has been moved as far forward as possible, return to the starting position.

 

Bent Knee Hip Raise

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Equipment: Body Only

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelBeginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Lay flat on the floor with your arms next to your sides.
  2. Now bend your knees at around a 75 degree angle and lift your feet off the floor by around 2 inches.
  3. Using your lower abs, bring your knees in towards you as you maintain the 75 degree angle bend in your legs. Continue this movement until you raise your hips off of the floor by rolling your pelvis backward. Breathe out as you perform this portion of the movement. Tip: At the end of the movement your knees will be over your chest.
  4. Squeeze your abs at the top of the movement for a second and then return to the starting position slowly as you breathe in. Tip: Maintain a controlled motion at all times.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: You can straighten your legs to make it harder or wear ankle weights.

 

Bottoms Up

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

EquipmentBody Only

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelBeginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Begin by lying on your back on the ground. Your legs should be straight and your arms at your side. This will be your starting position.
  2. To perform the movement, tuck the knees toward your chest by flexing the hips and knees. Following this, extend your legs directly above you so that they are perpendicular to the ground. Rotate and elevate your pelvis to raise your glutes from the floor.
  3. After a brief pause, return to the starting position.

 

Bosu Ball Crunch

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

EquipmentExercise Ball

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelBeginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Lay with the small of your back against the round side of a Bosu ball. Your knees should be bent with your feet flat on the ground. Fold your arms across your chest. This will be your starting position.
  2. Perform the movement by flexing the lumbar spine raising your torso. Do not flex the hips.
  3. At the top of the motion pause, and then return to the starting position.

 

Cable Crunch

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

EquipmentCable

Mechanics TypeIsolation

LevelBeginner

Sport: No

ForcePull

 

  1. Kneel below a high pulley that contains a rope attachment.
  2. Grasp cable rope attachment and lower the rope until your hands are placed next to your face.
  3. Flex your hips slightly and allow the weight to hyperextend the lower back. This will be your starting position.
  4. With the hips stationary, flex the waist as you contract the abs so that the elbows travel towards the middle of the thighs. Exhale as you perform this portion of the movement and hold the contraction for a second.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position as you inhale. Tip: Make sure that you keep constant tension on the abs throughout the movement. Also, do not choose a weight so heavy that the lower back handles the brunt of the work.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: You can perform this exercise with a handle instead so that you can concentrate on each side of the abs separately by performing the exercise to the side.

 

Cocoons

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Equipment: Body Only

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelBeginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Begin by lying on your back on the ground. Your legs should be straight and your arms extended behind your head. This will be your starting position.
  2. To perform the movement, tuck the knees toward your chest, rotating your pelvis to lift your glutes from the floor. As you do so, flex the spine, bringing your arms back over your head to perform a simultaneous crunch motion.
  3. After a brief pause, return to the starting position.

 

Cross Crunch

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

Type: Strength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

Equipment: Body Only

Mechanics TypeN/A

LevelBeginner

Sport: No

ForcePull

 

  1. Begin lying on your back with your knees bent.
  2. Raise your shoulders off the floor, but don't sit all the way up. Your abdominals should be flexed.
  3. From this position, reach toward your right knee with your left hand. When your left hand touches your knee, bring it down toward your hip as you reach toward your left knee with your right hand.
  4. Continue to alternate reaches while keeping your abdominals flexed.

 

Cross Body Crunch

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

Type: Strength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

EquipmentBody Only

Mechanics Type: Compound

LevelBeginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Lie flat on your back and bend your knees about 60 degrees.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor and place your hands loosely behind your head. This will be your starting position.
  3. Now curl up and bring your right elbow and shoulder across your body while bring your left knee in toward your left shoulder at the same time. Reach with your elbow and try to touch your knee. Exhale as you perform this movement. Tip: Try to bring your shoulder up towards your knee rather than just your elbow and remember that the key is to contract the abs as you perform the movement; not just to move the elbow.
  4. Now go back down to the starting position as you inhale and repeat with the left elbow and the right knee.
  5. Continue alternating in this manner until all prescribed repetitions are done.

Variation: You can also do all of your repetitions for one side and then switch to the other side.

 

Knee Raises

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

EquipmentOther

Mechanics TypeIsolation

LevelBeginner

SportNo

Force: Pull

 

  1. Position your body on the vertical leg raise bench so that your forearms are resting on the pads next to the torso and holding on to the handles. Your arms will be bent at a 90 degree angle.
  2. The torso should be straight with the lower back pressed against the pad of the machine and the legs extended pointing towards the floor. This will be your starting position.
  3. Now as you breathe out, lift your legs up as you keep them extended. Continue this movement until your legs are roughly parallel to the floor and then hold the contraction for a second. Tip: Do not use any momentum or swinging as you perform this exercise.
  4. Slowly go back to the starting position as you breathe in.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: As you become more advanced you can start to rotate your pelvis forward at the top of the movement to really engage the lower abs. You may also straighten your legs to increase the difficulty of this movement.

 

Cable Crunch With Alternate Twists

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Equipment: Cable

Mechanics TypeIsolation

Level: Beginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Connect a rope attachment to a high pulley cable and position a mat on the floor in front of it.
  2. Grab the rope with both hands and kneel approximately two feet back from the tower.
  3. Position the rope behind your head with your hands by your ears.
  4. Keep your hands in the same place, contract your abs and pull downward on the rope in a crunching movement until your elbows reach your knees.
  5. Pause briefly at the bottom and rise up in a slow and controlled manner until you reach the starting position.
  6. Repeat the same downward movement until you’re halfway down, at which time you’ll begin rotating one of your elbows to the opposite knee.
  7. Again, pause briefly at the bottom and rise up in a slow and controlled manner until you reach the starting position.
  8. Repeat the same movement as before, but alternate the other elbow to the opposite knee.
  9. Continue this series of movements to failure.

Tip: Keep your elbows in tight when doing the normal crunching movement, but extend them outward when doing the oblique twist. This technique will open your body for a greater rotation, as well as allow your elbow to drive backward with more force.

 

Hanging Oblique Knee Raises

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

EquipmentBody Only

Mechanics TypeIsolation

LevelExpert

SportNo

Force: Pull

 

  1. Take a grip on pull-ups bars; hang with your knees together and your body straight. This will be your starting position.
  2. Initiate the movement by flexing the hips and knees, drawing the legs up. Pull the knees up into one side, going above 90 degrees at the hip. Avoid any swinging, performing the exercise with control.
  3. Return to the starting position and then perform the movement to the other side. Continue alternating until the set in complete.

 

Swiss Ball Crunch

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

EquipmentExercise Ball

Mechanics TypeIsolation

LevelBeginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Lie on an exercise ball with your lower back curvature pressed against the spherical surface of the ball. Your feet should be bent at the knee and pressed firmly against the floor. The upper torso should be hanging off the top of the ball. The arms should either be kept alongside the body or crossed on top of your chest as these positions avoid neck strains (as opposed to the hands behind the back of the head position).
  2. Lower your torso into a stretch position keeping the neck stationary at all times. This will be your starting position.
  3. With the hips stationary, flex the waist by contracting the abdominals and curl the shoulders and trunk upward until you feel a nice contraction on your abdominals. The arms should simply slide up the side of your legs if you have them at the side or just stay on top of your chest if you have them crossed. The lower back should always stay in contact with the ball. Exhale as you perform this movement and hold the contraction for a second.
  4. As you inhale, go back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Caution: Perform this exercise slowly and deliberately as it takes some getting used to. Also, do not be hasty and try to use weights on the first time; you'll have enough on your hands learning how to balance yourself. Also, if balance is an issue I recommend having a spotter next to you and also placing each of your feet under a 100-lb dumbbell for added stability. As you get more advanced you can hold a dumbbell or a weight plate (held at arms length) on top of your chest. However, you have to be very careful when adding weight to this exercise, because if you add too much too quickly you could get a hernia.

Variations: You can perform this exercise with a low pulley behind you with a rope attached on its end. In this manner you can go ahead and add resistance easier. For this variation, you will need to hold on to the sides of the rope throughout the movement. I like to bring my arms forward to the point that the upper arms are almost parallel to my torso and the lower arms are facing back holding the rope.

 

Dumbell V Sit Punch

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Other Muscles: LatsMiddle Back,ShouldersTriceps

EquipmentDumbbell

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelIntermediate

Sport: No

ForcePush

 

  1. Begin seated on your butt with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Lean your upper body back to form a 45-degree angle with the floor. Bring your feet off the ground so that your body resembles a "V" shape.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and hold tight to your chest with palms facing each other. This will be your starting position.
  3. While keeping your core tight and maintaining your body's "V" position, quickly extend your left arm straight out (similar to a jab) and then bring it back to the starting position while simultaneously punching out with the right arm.
  4. Your torso and legs may slightly rotate side to side opposite of your hands throughout the movement—this is okay.
  5. A punch with each hand counts as one total repetition. Repeat for recommended number of repetitions.

 

Elbow To Knee

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

Type: Strength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

EquipmentBody Only

Mechanics TypeCompound

LevelBeginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Lie on the floor, crossing your right leg across your bent left knee. Clasp your hands behind your head, beginning with your shoulder blades on the ground. This will be your starting position.
  2. Perform the motion by flexing the spine and rotating your torso to bring the left elbow to the right knee.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions before switching sides.

 

Dumbell Side Bend

 

Start Position

Finish Position

 

TypeStrength

Main Muscle WorkedAbdominals

Equipment: Dumbbell

Mechanics TypeIsolation

Level: Beginner

SportNo

ForcePull

 

  1. Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell on the left hand (palms facing the torso) as you have the right hand holding your waist. Your feet should be placed at shoulder width. This will be your starting position.
  2. While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the right as far as possible. Breathe in as you bend to the side. Then hold for a second and come back up to the starting position as you exhale. Tip: Keep the rest of the body stationary.
  3. Now repeat the movement but bending to the left instead. Hold for a second and come back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and then change hands.

Caution: Refrain from using this exercise if your obliques tend to grow easily as wide obliques take away from your symmetry.

Variations: You can also do this exercise while seating on a bench or with a barbell.

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