Optimal functioning of the muscles of the Abdominal Wall are essential for many daily tasks such as breathing, rotational activities and transference of loads. Prescribing Abdominal exercises can be overwhelming as there is such a wide range of options, all targeting specific areas of the abdomen, and not addressing the whole system. Let’s look at 5 of my favourite Abdominal Strengthening Exercises; ones that target the whole system and effectively work the ‘Core’, both the Upper as well as Lower Abdominals, and the Obliques.
Remember that ‘Practice doesn’t make Perfect, Practicing Perfectly makes Perfect’ so pay attention to slow, controlled movements performed perfectly. Advise the client to rest if fatigued or if their technique fails. If they experience back pain, they may be arching their back as a compensation for weak Abdominals. In this instance, either start with an easier exercise (lower load) or reduce the repetitions & / or sets.
1. DEAD BUGS
What a great exercise to activate the Core, maintaining a flat neutral back (neither arched nor ‘imprinted’) whilst alternate arms & legs are simultaneously flexed or extended to activate the whole Abdominal Wall.
2. BALL: ROLL OUT BASICS
great example of a closed chain exercise that not only targets the Lower Abdominals but also provides proprioceptive input for optimal firing of the Serratus Anterior muscle and improved scapular control.
3. BEAR PLANK WITH SHOULDER TAPS
It looks easy but it sure isn’t! This activates the Core strongly whilst bringing in a balance and control component.
4. INCLINED TRUNK ROTATION: TUBING
This exercise demands it all: balance, Core, Upper and Lower Abs and Obliques. Its also functional for many rotational sports.
5. MEDICINE BALL: OBLIQUE ABS
Balancing on the base of your lower pelvis demands control from your Core. Now add in rotation with a weighted medicine ball and you’ve got a great Oblique Abdominal exercise that brings in the all-important rotational component, necessary in so many daily functions.
All the above exercises – photos and videos as well as instructions, are available in our Groovi Physio Software.