Find out what the lemon squeezer exercise is, how to do it, what muscles it works, and whether it is even worth your time.
Lemon squeezers are an exercise where you lie down on your back and then move your shoulders to your knees and your knees towards your shoulders.
If you do this movement the right way, lemon squeezers will work your abs and hip flexors.
However, a downside of the lemon squeeze exercise is that it is easy to use the momentum of your shoulders and knees instead of your abs.
In turn, more controlled ab exercises tend to be more effective.
Additionally, even if you get the technique of the lemon squeezer exercise right, you still need to do enough repetitions and use enough resistance.
How to do the lemon squeezer exercise
The first thing to note is that soft surfaces like a yoga mat can make the exercise a lot more comfortable.
With that in mind, take the following steps to do a lemon squeezer:
- Lie down on your back and keep your legs stretched and together. Where you keep your arms does not matter too much as long as you don’t swing them around too much.
- Curl up your shoulders in a controlled motion. At the same time, move your knees and hips toward your chest. Your knees and chest should meet more or less above your hips.
- Slowly return to starting position.
To keep lemon squeezers an ab exercise you want to move slowly.
Additionally, you really want to bend your spine and curl up your upper body.
Besides that, keeping your neck in line with your upper body will make lemon squeezers more comfortable.
Lemon squeezer exercise muscles worked
The main muscles you work by doing the lemon squeezer exercise as mentioned above are your abs and hip flexors.
Especially your abs will have a hard time if you do the movement right.
Keep in mind that swinging your legs and upper body too much will make this more of a hip flexor exercise instead.
You can also say your quadriceps will have to work to a tiny extent during lemon squeezers to keep your legs stretched.
Something else to keep in mind is that simply engaging your abs and hip flexors is not always enough to see results.
Instead, make sure you do enough lemon squeezers with enough repetitions for your training goals.
This could mean wearing ankle weights and/or holding something like a dumbbell against your chest.
Lemon squeezer exercise benefits
Lemon squeezers are a bit harder in terms of technique but if you do them right, they can offer some helpful benefits. A few examples are:
- Stronger muscles: By pressuring your muscles with lemon squeezers you can start processes that result in growth and strength increases.
- Balance & coordination: You have to use a certain amount of balance and coordination during the lemon squeezer exercise. This could improve your skills in these areas.
- No equipment or location required: While a yoga mat is helpful, you could do lemon squeezers with just your body weight. In turn, you don’t have to invest in fitness equipment or spend time on transport.
- May prevent back pain: The lemon squeezer exercise can prevent lower back pain by strengthening your abs (1). Keep in mind that some people will find the movement too uncomfortable in this area.
You don’t have to stick to the lemon squeezer exercise to get these benefits.
However, if you like doing this movement, it could be a good option anyway.
Lemon squeezer exercise alternatives
You may conclude that you want an easier exercise or simply want to change things up.
In these cases, you can consider some of the following lemon squeezer exercise alternatives:
- Hanging leg raises
- Lying leg raises
- Ab wheel roll-outs
- Reverse crunches
To choose between these lemon squeezer alternatives you want to think about what muscles you want to work and what your body can deal with.
Is the lemon squeezer a good exercise?
With the right technique, the lemon squeezer can be a good exercise to grow and strengthen your ab muscles.
That being said, a downside of this exercise is that it is relatively easy to use the momentum of your body parts instead of your abs.
By doing this, you would miss out on results in this area and make your workouts less effective.
Because of this, you will likely prefer the results of more controlled ab exercises like crunch variations instead.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that how much you like doing lemon squeezers influences your choice too.
By enjoying your workouts, it becomes easier to do them consistently. This is an important part of getting results too.
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What is the lemon squeezer exercise?
The lemon squeezer is an exercise where you lie down on your back and then move your shoulders and knees toward each other.
You really curl up your upper body and keep your movements controlled to work your ab muscles.