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Reverse Curls: An Unusual Abs Exercise

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

How are your abs muscles different from other muscle groups? Did you know that your abs can do something your hamstring, biceps, pecs, quads – heck, any of the other muscles we hope you are tempted to train –can’t?

Sing Along: We Got the Abs Right Here, The Method’s Oh So Dear, And Here’s Some Ladies Gonna Make it Very Clear. Can Do, Can Do, We Both Know That You Can Do (this exercise).

picture of reverse abs curl

Hips Lift Toward the Ceiling

We’ll give you a hint. Then you can try the reverse curl exercise in our video that targets your lower fibers and strengthens your entire midsection. No neck flexion required. No crunches or planks involved.

Read This Hint

Kymberly: When you train your biceps, your hand moves towards your shoulder. But you don’t bring your shoulder to your hand, right?
When you target the hamstrings, for example, you contract the heel towards the buttocks. But you don’t bring your hiney to your heel.

Alexandra: Just wondering – what am I training if I ask a handsome guy to move his hand toward my shoulder?

Kymberly: Now picture a crunch and a reverse curl. In the former you lift your upper body in the direction of your lower body. With the reverse curl you … wait for it, wait for it .. you bring your lower body, or hips, towards your upper body.

Work in Both Directions

In other words, you can work the abs from the top down or the bottom up. Given the spine’s joint structure, you can train the abs in both directions. Double bonus, just like having twins answer your active aging questions!

In our 35 years each of teaching fitness on several continents, we know most people prefer to target the lower fibers when doing abs exercises. That means choosing exercises that contract, compress, or lift your hips towards your upper body – whether sitting or lying down. If that is your goal as well, then give this move a go. You’ll get so toned you’ll want to get out your white boots and fringe vest and go-go.

pic of reverse of abs curl done wrong

Don’t Swing Your Legs in a Reverse Abs Curl

Watch This Video to Work From the Bottom, Up and Become Tops!

Just to make sure you really understand how to do this move, we’ve shown both correct and incorrect form.

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Working Obliques: Right and Wrong Way

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Ever work out your obliques and have a sore neck afterward? Do you put energy and effort into your ab exercises without really feeling it in the targeted muscles?  Simply wonder if your technique could use some fine tuning?

Shoeshine Boy is Underdog“Never fear, Underdog is here. When help is needed, we are not slow. It’s hip hip hip and away we go!” Who just went on that nostalgia journey with us? Give your abs three points and keep reading.

More to one point, we are here to offer a simple tip to help you get the most out of your oblique exercises.


Simple Tip Revealed:

  • Vertically line up the middle of your face with the middle of your body.  

If you want to sound savvy and smarticle, tell yourself to keep your midline in line from head to chest. Draw a vertical mental line down the center of your face. Do the same for your torso. If your face midline twists in one direction while your body midline enjoys a vacation on the other coast, you are working your neck. Or your shoulders. Or both. But not your obliques. Rotation comes at the space between your ribs and hip.

If you are doing the twist at the neck, well, you might get the Chubbiest neck in town.  Hmm, Chubby Checker actually has pretty good twist form that engages his obliques. See how his neck is not doing the rotation but he’s got a lot of action going on through his center? This could be YOU!

Simple Tip Two:

  • Subscribe to our blog and get our Fun and Fit Abs Collection free!

Or go to our post on Performing Oblique crunches the Right Way. For current subscribers – you can also get our Abs series by emailing us and asking politely .. or breathlessly … or (fill in the adverb).

Readers aka Exercisers: Did your midlines line up? Single file? Left, right, left, right, aye aye?!