Your core muscles keep you moving, strong, and balanced. So, if you’ve been injured, undergone surgery, played a sport, or want to stay fit, strong abdominal exercises will benefit that all-important core. Abdominal exercises are more than just sit-ups, pull-ups, or push-ups. Your physical therapist at your orthopedic clinic often includes them in geriatric care plans, post-surgical rehab, conditioning to manage chronic musculoskeletal problems, and more.
Let’s talk about15 sample ab exercises that maximize the benefits and where you can go in Rochester Hills, MI, for high-quality physical therapy.
Benefits of Abdominal Exercises
Why is toning and strengthening the abdominal muscles so important? According to the orthopedic doctors, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, and other health care providers, the benefits are many. Here are just a few benefits:
- Ab exercises improve posture, balance, and stability as you sit, walk, climb stairs, run and perform any kind of movement.
- These at-home and on-site movements increase flexibility and range of motion.
- Abdominal exercises reduce body pain, particularly in common areas of chronic discomfort, such as the lower back.
- Strong abs mean strong pelvic floor muscles and reduction of age-related problems, such as urinary incontinence.
- Ab movement improves muscle tone and personal appearance.
15 Common Ab Exercises
Your physical therapy experts at Ahlgren Spine Orthopedic Surgery recommend a range of ab exercises. Here are just some of the most easily executed movements.
Lie on your back, bend your knees and form a 90-degree angle with your legs. If you wish, press your feet against a wall. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor while crossing your arms on your chest. Repeat as recommended by your physical therapist.
Lie on your back, hands at your sides. Cross your legs at the ankles, and simultaneously lift both legs so that your hips move up off the floor. Repeat.
While lying on your side, raise your body onto your forearm and feet. Shoulders, hips, and knees must line up. Hold for five seconds, and gently lower to the floor.
Lie on your stomach, and place your forearms and toes on the floor. Raise your entire body horizontally while keeping your torso and hips straight. Hold for five to 10 seconds (or as long as taking the same number of deep breaths), and lower.
Lie on your stomach, and place your forearms on the floor while bending your knees. Keep toes touching the floor, and contract your abs. Hold your position for five to 10 seconds, and lower.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so that your torso and pelvis are aligned. Tighten your stomach muscles, and hold for five to ten seconds.
Abdominal press with one leg
Lie on your back, and bend your legs at the knee. Keep one hand flat on the floor, and with the other hand, push on the knee on the same side of your body. Hold for three to five seconds and release. Repeat on the opposite side.
Abdominal press with both legs
Do a standard abdominal press, but instead of raising and pressing one knee at a time, raise and press both knees simultaneously. Be sure to tighten your abs as you do so.
Lie on your stomach with a rolled small towel placed beneath your body at the waistline. Stretch both arms and both legs straight out. Then, lift your right hand and your left foot off the floor and hold for five seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Sit on the floor with your hands at your sides. Together, raise both legs straight out, so your knees are opposite your face. Hold this position as you extend both arms straight out and hold. Try for a full 30 seconds.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent to touch your thighs to your chest. Slowly rotate both legs at the knee to touch the floor. Hold and repeat, rotating in the other direction.
While lying on your back, raise both legs straight up to about six inches off the floor. Hold as long as you can, and lower. You also can just raise one leg at a time and hold. Consciously, tighten your abdominal muscles.
Kneel on all fours, extend one arm straight ahead and hold. Then, lift and straighten the leg on the opposite side of the body, and hold the positions of both the arm and the leg. Lower and repeat with the other arm and leg.
Practice good posture
Yes, this is actually a very effective abdominal exercise. When standing, place both feet, with toes pointed forward, shoulder-width apart. Roll your shoulders straight back, and lift your chin, so your eyes point straight ahead. Consciously, tighten your abs and glutes, and hold. If you are sitting, place both feet flat on the floor.
Physical Therapy at Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery
While our lead physician is board-certified in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Ahlgren and his team firmly believe in non-operative interventions as well, such as the discipline of physical therapy, including ab exercises. If you are anticipating surgery, wish to play sports more effectively, or want to manage a chronic musculoskeletal condition, please contact us for a physical therapy consultation.
To know more or schedule a consultation with our team, call us today at (248) 215-8080, or request an appointment online.
For your convenience, we are located in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, MI.