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10 Powerful Ab Stretches

Stretching can benefit your physical fitness but how to do that varies. What are some stretching exercises for your ab muscles?

Stretching is a form of exercise where you stretch out muscles or tendons with a variety of movements. Besides other benefits, stretching can help you improve flexibility, reduce injury risk, improve athletic performance, etc.

Once you have decided that you want to implement more stretching the next step is to choose a specific muscle or joint. There is not one single stretching exercise for all body parts.

Your core muscles, and more specifically your abs, are muscles that play a role in most movements you do. After using them so much they can likely benefits from some stretches.

Keep in mind that even though there are upsides, there is also a certain injury risk when stretching. Especially if you have a history of lower bacl issues you may want to talk to your primary care provider before doing these ab stretches.

1. Supine ab stretch

For this first ab stretch and many of the other options on this list you will benefit from a yoga mat or other soft surface to lie on. Once you have that to do a supine ab stretch take the following steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your hands stretched out above your head.
  2. Stretch out your body and raise your lower back as far as comfortable
How to do a supine ab stretch

2. Cat cow stretch

The cat cow exercise can stretch both your abs and back muscles. To do a cat cow stretch take the following steps:

  1. Sit on your hands and knees with your shoulders above your hands and hips above your knees.
  2. Arch your back as far as comfortable. Keep your neck in line with your upper shoulders which means looking down throughout the movement.
  3. Lower your back as far as comfortable. Again keep your neck in line with your upper shoulders. This time you will look up more.
How to do a cat cow stretch

3. Superman hold

The superman exercise is traditionally a lower back bodyweight exercise on the floor. Doing a hold at the top of the movement can also help you stretch your abs. To do a superman hold take the following steps:

  1. Lie down on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched and in one line with your body.
  2. Slowly raise your chest, arms, and legs as far as comfortable. Keep your neck in lign with your upper body.
  3. Hold this position for some time.
  4. Lower all body parts back into starting position in a controlled motion.

A benefit of this stretch exercise is that you can also strengthen a few back muscles at the same time.

How to do a superman exercise

4. Cobra pose

To do a cobra pose take the following steps:

  1. Lie on your stomach.
  2. Raise your shoulders as far as comfortable while keeping your hips and legs on the ground.

How far you want to raise your shoulders during the cobra pose depends on how tight your ab muscles are. You can start with just resting on your elbows.

If that goes well you can slowly push yourself up with the help of your arm muscles.

How to do a cobra pose

5. Standing ab stretch

To do a standing ab stretch take the following steps:

  1. Stand upright with your feet at about shoulder width. Raise your arms above your head.
  2. Slowly tilt backward with your upper body as far as comfortable.

One benefit of the standing ab stretch is that you do not need flexibility training equipment like a yoga mat.

On the other hand, a downside is that your movements are slightly harder to control. You will have to use more balance too.

How to do a standing ab stretch

6. Standing ab side stretch

To do a standing ab side stretch take the following steps:

  1. Stand upright with your feet at about shoulder width. Raise your arms above your head.
  2. Slowly tilt sideways to one side with your upper body as far as comfortable.
  3. Slowly tilt sideways to the other side.

This variation of the previous ab stretch is focused more on your obliques, other core muscles. Both to stretch ab and oblique muscles slightly more you can do more of a backward-sideways movement instead of straight sideways.

How to do a standing ab side stretch

7. Child’s pose against the wall

As the name implies, for this next ab stretch you need a wall. You preferably also want something comfortable to put under your knees. To do a child’s against the wall take the following steps:

  1. Sit on your knees in front of the wall. Place your hands on the wall with your arms stretched.
  2. Push your stomach forward/downward as far as comfortable.
How to do a child's pose against the wall

8. Seated rotation

For the seated rotation you preferably want something like a chair to sit on. Once you have that to do a seated rotation take the following steps:

  1. Sit on the chair with a straight back.
  2. Slowly rotate to one side as far as comfortable.
  3. Slowly rotate to the other side as far as comfortable.

The seated rotation is another exercise that mainly focuses on stretching your oblique core muscles. Even so, your abs will experience some stretching too.

How to do a seated rotation

9. Exercise ball ab stretch

For the next exercise you want an exercise ball or Bosu Ball. Once you have one take the following steps:

  1. Sit in front of the exercise ball.
  2. Lean on the exercise ball with your shoulders, stretch your arms above your head, and slowly roll the ball backward as far as comfortable.

If you only have a Bosu Ball available, the end position of this ab stretch will be the same but the way to get there is more direct.

How to do an exercise ball ab stretch

10. Glute bridge hold

To do a glute bridge hold take the following steps:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or other soft surface. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width at a distance where your lower legs are more or less vertical in the next step. Put your arms at your sides for balance.
  2. Move up your hips in a controlled motion as far as comfortable.
  3. Hold this position for an extended period of time.
  4. Slowly lower your body again.

The bridge exercise also engages muscles like your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings while stretching your abs. Make sure you don’t raise your hips too high.

From this bridge position you can also do things like raise one shoulder off the ground and reach backward with the arm of that side, also known as a twisting shoulder bridge. This will give your obliques an extra stretch.

How to do a bridge