Upper abdominal muscles
The upper abdominal muscles together with your lower abdominal muscles ensure that your body is stable, you can bend your torso and they protect your internal organs. Examples of exercises you can do to train your upper abdominal muscles are:
Knees in air sit-ups; you lie with your back on the floor and your hands on your head. Raise your legs with your knees bent. From this position, raise your upper body in the direction of your knees.
Reverse crunches; lying on the ground with your arms along your body, bring your legs outstretched in the air up to an angle of 90 degrees with your body. From this position you push your legs further up into the air and back again with your abdominal muscles.
The lower half of your abdomen is often a place where fat accumulates. Below are a number of exercises aimed at the lower abdominal muscles:
Double leg lifts; lying on your back, with your arms next to your body, let your legs come up stretched until they are at a 90 degree angle to your body. Then slowly let your legs come down again until they are a few centimetres above the ground.
Scissors; lying on your back, with your arms next to your body, lift your legs stretched 10 to 40 cm from the ground. Spread your legs and move them over each other in a crossing movement: first left over right, then right over left.
Tilted abdominal muscles
The function of the oblique abdominal muscles is to rotate your body and to protect your internal organs. The following exercises can be done to strengthen your oblique abdominal muscles:
Seated twists; while sitting on the end of a chair or bench, turn your upper body from left to right. You do this while holding an elongated object, such as a broomstick or dipstick, in your neck with your hands each at one end of the stick.
Side leg raises; while lying on your side, try to move both legs up and then bring them back to the ground. You can use your elbow to keep your balance.