Ab Exercises Without Pushups

Ab Exercises Without Pushups

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The criss-cross exercise continually switches the opposite elbow toward the opposite knee.

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You may have noticed a trend in ab exercises that combine pushups with abs, but ab exercises can be accomplished without pushups. Some ab exercises are done with equipment or with a partner. Whichever exercises you choose, just make sure they strengthen all of your abdominal muscles and challenge all directions of movement. Your abs work together to bend your spine forward, called flexion; to bend side to side, called side flexion; and to turn your shoulders, called torso rotation.

Partner Medicine Ball Rotations

The action of torso rotation engages your oblique abdominis muscles. The obliques originate on your lower eight ribs at the side of your chest and travel at a downward angle to attach to your pelvis and to a ligament that runs down the midline of your abdomen. When you turn your shoulders to the right, the left oblique tightens and the right one relaxes. Focus on these muscles as you do a partner medicine-ball rotation exercise. Sit back to back with your partner, and place your feet on the floor. Hold the medicine ball, rotate to the right while your partner rotates to the left. Hand the medicine ball to your partner, then rotate the other way, and your partner hands it to you. Continue for three sets of 15 repetitions.

Double Leg Lift

The double leg lift exercise engages your obliques and the outer edge of your six pack, called rectus abdominis. The action performed is side flexion of the spine. Start in a side-lying position with your legs stacked and angled slightly forward. Rest your head on the bottom arm and allow your top arm to bend across your abdomen. Place your heels together so your legs are aligned, and raise and lower your legs slowly. Make sure the side of your knee comes off the floor. Continue for three sets of 15 repetitions before switching to the other side.

Tummy Flattener

When you compress your abdomen so that your belly button goes in toward your spine, you have contracted your deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominis. This muscle contraction is called the belly scoop or abdominal compression. Try it while you sit in your car, sit at your desk or while watching television. If you want to be more purposeful and do it as an exercise, start by kneeling on all fours. Relax your abdomen toward the floor as you inhale. Then, purse your lips, compress your belly button up toward your spine and exhale completely. Continue for 15 repetitions.

Double Leg Circles

This ab exercise engages all three of your abdominal muscles, rectus abdominis, obliques and transverse abdominis, and especially challenges the lower muscle fibers. If you have a sensitive low back, place a pillow under your hips for support. Start on your back with your legs up and your arms by your sides. Slightly tuck your chin toward your chest. Inhale to prepare for motion, and exhale while compressing your abdomen. Inhale again and begin circling your legs in a clockwise direction. Exhale as you compress your abdomen and circle your legs up and around to starting position. Alternate directions for 20 repetitions and keep your back on the mat.