Find out how to do the frog kicks exercise and whether the benefits are worth it so you don’t put effort into suboptimal results.
The first thing to note is that there are different movements that get the name frog kicks.
This article goes over the ab exercise version where you lie down on the ground, move your knees to your chest, and move them back.
Doing frog kicks like this will mainly work your abs and hip flexors.
However, a downside is that it is easy to use the momentum of your legs instead of your abs to raise your hips.
In turn, doing a more controlled exercise like the reverse crunch is typically a better idea than frog kicks.
No matter what ab exercise you choose, keep in mind that you still need to do enough repetitions with enough weight to reach your training goals.
How to do a frog kick
Before going into the steps of doing a frog kick, you want to know that a yoga mat can make the movement a lot more comfortable.
That aside, take the following steps to do a frog kick:
- Lie down on your back with your legs stretched and together. You can put your hands on the ground for balance or just keep them against your chest.
- Push your lower back against the ground with your abs. Your legs should hover just above the ground.
- Slowly move your knees and hips as far as comfortable towards your chest. Your lower back should get off the ground at the end of the movement.
- Return to the position of step two in a controlled motion. Keep your legs hovering above the ground if you plan to do more repetitions.
To work your abs, you want to make sure you don’t swing your legs too much during frog kicks.
Keeping your movements controlled will also help you avoid moving into a position that is currently too uncomfortable for you.
Frog kicks muscles worked
The main muscles worked during frog kicks are your abs and hip flexors.
To work your abs, you do need to make sure the swinging of your legs does not take over.
If you do this well, frog kicks will mainly be challenging for your abs. You should expect most of your results in these muscles.
Besides that, you could say that frog kicks work your quadriceps (front thighs) to a tiny extent to keep your legs straight.
Keep in mind that just working your ab muscles a few times is not always enough to see results.
More specifically, you want to do frog kicks enough times and with enough resistance for your training goals.
For more advanced lifters, this could mean doing harder bodyweight ab exercises like lying leg raises.
If you don’t like these, you can also consider doing frog kicks while wearing ankle weights.
Frog kicks benefits
Frog kicks may require some extra attention to technique to do effectively. However, they can still offer nice benefits if you do them right.
Some examples include:
- Stronger muscles: By doing frog kicks in a smart way, you can grow and strengthen your abs.
- No equipment or location required: You don’t have to invest in fitness equipment or spend time going to a different location to do frog kicks.
- Balance & coordination: Frog kicks are not the most challenging in terms of balance and coordination but you could see some improvements in these skills.
- May prevent back pain: Strengthening your abs with frog kicks can help prevent back pain (1). If you already have back pain you do want to consider starting with alternative ab exercises.
These benefits are not completely unique to frog kicks but if you like the exercise, you can use it to get these positive effects.
Frog kick alternatives
If you don’t like frog kicks or simply want to switch things up, you likely want to know what alternatives there are.
Some of these include:
- Reverse crunches
- Lying leg raises
- Hanging knee raises
- Bicycle crunches
What muscles you want to work and what your body is comfortable with will influence what frog kick alternatives you prefer.
Are frog kicks a good exercise?
Frog kicks can be a good exercise for growing and strengthening your ab muscles if you do them the right way.
One downside is that it is easy to let the momentum of your legs take over the work from your abs.
In turn, frog kicks would become more of a hip flexor exercise which is likely not your goal.
The result is that while frog kicks can offer nice benefits, you likely want to choose reverse crunches or other ab exercises instead.
At least if you don’t have a big personal preference for the frog kick exercise.
That aside, keep in mind that the fundamental resistance training principles still apply.
You need to do frog kicks (or the alternatives) with enough repetitions and resistance for your training goals.
What is a frog kick exercise?
There are other versions too but in this article, the frog kick exercise is a movement where you lie down on your back, slowly move your knees to your chest, and lower them again.