Perhaps the image most people have in their heads of someone with a strong, perfect body is a person with well-defined abs. While having abs is aesthetically pleasing, it's not the end all and be all of working out your core. Put your focus instead on how strong your entire core is.
Standing ab exercises can help you build stronger core muscles and strengthen your overall physique. You also get to build your endurance and boost your overall performance. This article will tell you all about the importance of core strength and how you can incorporate these types of ab exercises into your workout routine.
The importance of having a strong core
Your core plays a crucial role in how you go about your everyday activities. You use your core in practically everything that you do. From the time that you wake up to the time that you lie down to sleep, your core helps keep you mobile and upright, and it helps your body function properly.
According to Meredith McHale, P.T., D.P.T., the regional clinical director at Professional Physical Therapy, the core serves as your entire body's base of support. Your core muscles hold up both your pelvis and your spine, and they even out the weight distributed between your upper and lower body.
Your abdominal muscles are composed of many muscles. The deepest layer is called the transverse abdominis, and it upholds your pelvis and spine. On the sides, you have your oblique muscles, which help your spine rotate. The topmost muscle is called the rectus abdominus, and it helps your torso flex forward. It's also the most visible muscle, and it's what people work out to have a six-pack.
The benefits of doing ab exercises standing up
Many ab exercises involve having to lie down on your back. Usually, people train their core by doing a variety of crunches and planks on a mat, and when done properly, these types of exercises get your abdominal muscles working. However, when they are done with poor form or improper technique, they would not do much for your body, and you may even injure your back. That's why any type of ab exercise requires proper form and technique.
As with all workouts, a variety of exercises are needed to build maximum strength and enhance performance. You have a grand total of 29 different muscles in your core region, and you would want to make sure that you are working out as many muscles as you can. Standing ab exercises are a great way to bring variety into your core workout, and they can help you burn more calories than when done lying down. Using resistance and controlling your movement while doing a standing ab exercise also adds intensity to your workout and helps challenge your abdominal muscles.
Standing abs exercises you can do to build your core strength
When doing a standing ab exercise, prioritize on your form over the amount of reps that you do. It is important to keep your core engaged at all times. Here are some of the most effective standing core exercises you can incorporate into your workout routine. Remember to warm up before doing any standing abs exercises to loosen up your muscles and minimize the risk of getting injured.
Standing core stabilizers
This particular workout challenges both your arms and your abs. Use a light dumbbell to start, and increase its weight as you progress with this exercise.
Position the dumbbell horizontally, and hold both ends in your hands. Make sure to keep either arm straight in front of you to get the maximum effect, and make sure that you are standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Inhale deeply, and engage your core as you twist your upper body to the left and right. Pivot with your left foot to help you balance. Stop twisting when the dumbbell is right by your side.
As you exhale, move back to the center. Repeat the whole exercise on the other side, this time using your right foot to pivot.
Right and left leg standing oblique bends
This particular exercise targets your side abs. Use a heavier dumbbell here to challenge more of your abdominal muscles.
In a standing position, keep your feet close together. Hold the dumbbell with your right hand, and position it at your side.
Engaging your core, bend towards the right side of your waist, and control the way that the dumbbell goes down. Use your obliques to pull yourself upright again, and do this for as many reps as you'd like. Repeat this on the other side with your left hand.
Standing stabilization with arms straight
This workout challenges your stability and balance. Use a medicine ball or dumbbell to add difficulty.
Stand with your feet hip width apart as a starting position. Hold a medicine ball or a dumbbell with both hands, and keep your arms extended straight in front of your chest. Slowly begin to rotate torso, and make sure that your shoulders are pressed down. Go back to the center after you rotate, and proceed to rotate in the opposite direction.
Do ten reps on each side. You may also choose to alternate sides for ten reps and use a heavier medicine ball for added intensity.
Standing bicycle crunches
Elevate the way that you do bicycle crunches. Focus on your rotation to add intensity to these standing ab exercises.
Stand with your feet shoulder width or hip width apart as a starting position. Bend your elbows, and put your hands behind your head.
Touch your right knee to your left elbow. Repeat this movement on the other side, this time touching your left knee to your right elbow. Remember to twist and crunch your torso.
Right and left knee tuck extension with weight
This particular exercise requires good balance and mobility. This primarily targets your side abs, and it gives them extra definition.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart as a starting position. Keep your elbows bent, and put your hands behind your head.
Remember that your goal here is to touch your elbow to your knee. Do a standing side crunch with your knees bent. Do this first with your right leg, and repeat this on the other side with your left leg. Make sure to keep your movement concentrated to the side.
Other ways to boost your core strength
Aside from doing standing ab exercises, there are other ways for your abs to look good and for you to boost your core strength.
Work with a certified personal trainer
A certified personal trainer can guide you on your fitness journey and develop a fitness plan for you. Your personal fitness plan can be tailor-fit to meet your fitness goals, and you can request for a plan that focuses on strengthening and defining your core.
Use an ab simulator
Fitness enthusiasts sometimes use ab stimulators or ab trainers to better sculpt and define their abdominal muscles. The best ab stimulator belts can even strengthen your muscles and keep your body looking taut and firm. They are certainly a worthwhile investment for those who wish to achieve the body of their dreams and reach their fitness goals.
These ab belts utilize electronic muscle stimulators that send quick electrical pulses to your muscles. Using these belts for even as little as 20 minutes a day can strengthen your core and tone your ab muscles.