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Are V-Ups a Good Abdominal Exercise?

author image Beth Rifkin
Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
Are V-Ups a Good Abdominal Exercise?
a two step image showing a woman performing a V-up. Photo Credit blanaru/iStock/Getty Images

The V-Up is an intermediate level abdominal exercise that requires balancing on your sit bones while your torso and legs are lifted in the air. Also known as a jackknife sit-up, the V-Up is an effective abdominal exercise when performed correctly. The key is to fully engage your abdominal and upper back muscles for stability rather than relying on momentum.

Six-Pack Abs

The V-Up primarily targets the rectus abdominis, which is the flat muscle that lies on top of your abs. The rectus abdominis is responsible for providing the proverbial six-pack look that comes with a strong, flat stomach. The deep-seated transversus abdominis, which helps to pull your stomach in toward your spine, is also activated during the V-Up. Secondary muscles that come into play are the middle and upper back as well as the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Focus on Form

Executing the V-Up with proper form is vital for maximizing abdominal strength. Sit tall on a mat with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Pull your stomach in toward your spine and slide the shoulder blades down your back. Lean your torso slightly back, while keeping your back straight, and lift your feet toward the ceiling. Place your hands on the floor for support if necessary. Aim for straight legs, though do bend your knees if you start to sink into your lower back. Hold for three to five counts.

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