If you are looking to fire up your abs and work your inner thighs at the same time, then you might want to consider frog kicks.
This movement is mainly a core isolation exercise that also works your hip flexors and the adductors in your thighs.
To do this exercise properly, here are the steps to follow:
- Lie down on your back on a mat or the floor with your legs extended and your feet close together on the ground.
- Hold your arms in front of your chest or firmly by your sides for better balance.
- Press your lower back into the ground so your legs start hovering a few inches off the ground.
- Slowly, move your knees up towards your chest, going only as far as you find comfortable. Make sure you use your core to do this movement instead of your legs.
- Lower your legs and stretch them in a slow and controlled fashion.
Keep your feet hovering above the ground until you are done with all your reps to keep maximum tension in your core.
WHAT MUSCLES DO FROG KICKS WORK?
Frog kicks help strengthen and tone your core muscles while also working the hard-to-reach adductors in your inner thighs.
They also recruit your glutes as you use them to flex your hips as you move your knees towards your chest.
FROG KICKS BENEFITS
WORK YOUR ENTIRE CORE
Unlike most popular core exercises (like crunches) which focus your abdominal muscles, frog kicks work your entire core, including your obliques.
For this reason, it may yield faster results for you if you maintain proper form.
EASY TO MODIFY
You can easily modify frog kicks to make them easier if you find them too difficult, or more challenging if you find them too simple.
Keeping your back pressed to the ground the entire time is one way to make this exercise easier. It may not work your core as well as the standard frog crunch but you will still get a good workout out of it.
On the other hand, if you are looking to make the frog kick a bit more challenging, you have the option of using weights such as dumbbells or a medicine ball for extra resistance.
IMPROVE BODY BALANCE
It takes a lot of balance to move your knees in towards your chest in a controlled fashion and stretch your legs out, leaving them just a few inches off the ground.
Achieving balance might prove difficult at first but once you’ve developed enough core strength, you will be able to perform these motions more easily.
NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED
You don’t need any special gym equipment to do frog kicks; your bodyweight alone will get the job done.
However, you can choose to include a weight for more resistance, but the exercise will still be effective even without the weights.
MAY HELP RELIEVE BACK PAIN
Exercises that strengthen your core like frog kicks can be particularly beneficial to you if you have back pain.
These exercises stabilize your spine and lower back, and release some of the tension in there, which could help reduce pain in there if you have any.
ALTERNATIVES TO FROG KICKS
LYING LEG RAISE
The lying leg raise targets your abdominal muscles, with specific focus on your lower abs.
With proper form, it can work a lot more muscles than those in your core, including your hip flexors, lower back muscles and hamstrings.
You can also make it more challenging by attaching weights to your ankles for more resistance.
- Lie on a mat facing up, with your feet pressed together and your legs straight.
- Place your arms by your sides, with the palms facing down.
- Tighten your core.
- Lift your legs a few inches off the ground , pointing your toes away from your body. Your pelvis and chin should both be tucked. This is your starting position.
- Raise your legs until both knees are just over your hips or until your butt slightly lifts off the ground.
- Pause at the top position for a second.
- With your core still tight and your upper body pressed to the mat, lower your legs slowly until they are almost touching the ground.
- Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps each.
This is a crunch variation that works both your abs and the obliques.
Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on the floor on your back and bend your knees.
- Plant your feet on the floor, keeping them hip-width apart.
- Place your arms behind your head, with your elbows pointing outward.
- Tighten your core and lift both knees to about 90 degrees as you raise your upper body.
- Exhale, and then rotate your trunk as you move your left elbow and right knee toward each other. Straighten your left leg at the same time you are rotating your trunk.
- Inhale, and then return to the starting position.
- Exhale and move your right elbow to your left knee as you extend your left leg. This is a complete rep.
- Do as many reps as you desire.
FROG KICKS MISTAKES TO AVOID
USING YOUR LEGS
Do not use your legs to bring your knees up towards your chest. This will shift the focus from your core to your legs which will render the exercise ineffective.
Use your core instead, so that you get to work the muscles in there.
MOVING TOO FAST
Try using slow, steady and controlled motions instead of momentum. This will put your core under tension for a longer period of time, which translates into a better workout and better results.
There is no doubt that you will certainly benefit from including frog kicks in your core routine.
This challenging bodyweight exercise not only strengthens and isolates your core but also helps relieve back pain by releasing tension from your back muscles.
What’s more, you can easily modify it to make it easier or more challenging so that you get what works best for you.
However, you should also keep in mind that frog kicks can be particularly hard on your back, neck and hips.
So, if you experience pain in any of these body parts, be sure to first consult your doctor before you try it.
Also, remember to stay consistent and maintain proper form as you do this exercise so that you get the results you desire.