Abdominal Exercises 12 of 20

 Reverse Curl
Description: Lie supine with thighs held up perpendicular to the floor, knees flexed to 90 degrees, and lower legs held parallel to the floor. Engage the transversus abdominis with an abdominal compression, and perform a curl by flexing the lumbar spine and lifting the tailbone off the floor. Lift the legs until the knees are over the chest (30-40 degrees of lumbar flexion). Slowly return to starting position. Maintain 90 degree flexion at both the hips and knees throughout the movement and do not hold your breath.
Most people will need to hold onto an anchor with their hands to prevent their upper bodies from moving during the exercise.

Analysis: The reverse curl up is an effective exercise for recruiting and strengthening the rectus abdominis (RA) muscle. In order to effectively engage the RA muscle, primary movement should be flexion at the lumbar spine.

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Primary muscles worked: Rectus Abdominis
Secondary muscles worked: Transversus Abdominis, Internal Obliques, External Obliques

Variations: You can increase the difficulty of the exercise by extending your knees outward, using ankle weights, by holding a medicine ball between the knees or by performing the Reverse Curl on an Incline Board (see video)

Common Errors:
  • Extending your knees while flexing the lumbar spine. Keep the knees flexed at 90 degrees throughout the movement.
  • Placing undue strain on low back structures by flexing beyond 30-40 degrees.
  • Engaging the hip flexor muscles by over flexing the lumbar spine.
  • Over flexion of the cervical spine placing stress on the neck.
  • Not engaging the transversus abdominis muscles leading to a less efficient contraction for the RA.
  • Lifting the entire back off the floor. Only the lower back (tailbone) should leave the floor.