What is it for?
As you can probably guess this exercise works on your stomach muscles, but which ones? It works on your erector spinae muscles (the small muscles either side of your spine – .) which are used for rotation. It also works on your transverse abdominals (the belt-like stomach muscle that lies underneath all other stomach muscles – .) but we have added this to the ab section because it is primarily a great exercise for your oblique stomach muscles (they are on your sides and help with twisting and sideways bending).
Remember though, this exercise and any other stomach exercise will not necessarily make your stomach flat by itself. If you have excess body fat you need to combine your stomach exercises with a good all over body workout and back it up with a good wholefood diet. If you look under the appropriate sections in our blog you should find what you are looking for to help you with this.
As with all stomach exercises we have dealt with so far you will need to lie on your back on the floor. Raise your legs in the air to 90 degrees from the floor. Some preparation is needed before we start the movement and that is to draw your tummy button in and down towards your spine. This will activate your transverse abdominals and these are the ones that will prevent your back from arching up during the movement.
Once you feel that the abs are strong enough you need to lower your legs to the left keeping them straight and allowing the right hip to come off the floor. Only go as far as you can while remaining in control and before your back starts to arch. When you reach this point you need to stop the movement and change direction bringing your legs back to the upright position and then move slowly over to your right hand side, this time letting your left hip lift off the floor. Use the same rules again and hold the position where you feel in control. Slowly bring your legs back to the upright position and there you go, the routine is completed. The stronger you get the lower you will be able to get your legs but be safe and always be careful, don’t over extend yourself. This is another abdominal exercise that you should not do if you are suffering from a bad back or are a novice to exercise. Build yourself up slowly and take your time.
You should be able to see from the video that I don’t rush this exercise; I use nice slow controlled movements and you should try and replicate this as closely as possible. You should also see that although my hip does come of the ground my spine stays neutral in its position. This shows that I am using my transverse abdominal to control my position. Very important muscles to work on when you train and you should try and use them for every exercise. You will also see that I hold it at the end of each movement for a fraction of a second; this is to firstly show control and secondly to avoid damaging the small back muscles that also get used in this movement. Be safe and be slow and controlled. You can use your hands to the side for stability but try not to use them to aid the movement.