Abdominal exercises help strengthen your core, which can ease daily activities, and improve your athletic performance, balance, stability and posture. When done with poor form, exercises, such as situps and crunches, can trigger neck and back pain. By working your abs in an upright stance you can prevent these injuries while still strengthening and toning your midsection.
Standing Bicycle Crunch
According to a study by the American Council on Exercise, bicycle crunches are one of the most effective abdominal exercises you can do. You can mimic this exercise while standing upright. Place your fingertips on your head right behind your ears so your elbows point out, and stand with your feet together and your core engaged. Twist your torso to the right and raise your left knee to bring your right elbow and left knee together in the center of your body. Do this 20 times, and then switch sides, or alternate sides throughout.
Standing Wood Chop
During the standing wood chop exercise, you're basically mimicking the motion you would make while chopping wood. While standing in a split stance with your left foot slightly forward, you hold onto a heavy object with both hands. This can be a medicine ball, thick book, water bottle or dumbbell. You then raise your arms diagonally across your body to your left side and slowly lower them toward your right hip while making the chopping motion. Avoid moving your body; only your arms move. Repeat this eight to 12 times before switching sides and complete two or three sets.
Standing Cable Crunch
A high pulley can effectively offer resistance during crunches. To target the front of your waistline, stand with your back against the back pad of the cable machine, drape the cables over your shoulders and grasp onto them in front of your chest. Brace your core and bend forward about 45 degrees before returning to the starting point. To target your obliques at the sides of your midsection, twist your torso during the downward motion as if to bring your opposite shoulder to the opposite knee. Do eight to 12 repetitions and two or three sets of each exercise.
Standing Oblique Twist
Just like the wood chop exercise, the standing oblique twist can be done with a medicine ball, dumbbell, water bottle or thick book. During this exercise your stand with your feet together, while holding the weight with both hands. Extend your arms forward at shoulder height, then twist your torso as you bring your arms to the left side of your body, then the right. Do this 20 times and keep your body still during the motion; only your arms and torso move. To make the exercise easier, hold the ball closer to your body, just below your chest.
- Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School: The Real-World Benefits of Strengthening Your Core
- Train Smarter, Not Harder; Traci Riley
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- Shape.com: Vertical Abs Workout: 6 Standing Moves for a Six-Pack
- American Council on Exercise: Standing Wood Chop
- ExRx.net: Cable Standing Crunch
- American Council on Exercise: Standing Medicine Ball Trunk Rotations