Knee hugs is an exercise that targets mainly your abs, engages and challenges your core and help to trim and tone your waist.
This workout also helps to improve your posture and prevent lower back pain and injury.
Steps on how to do knee hugs:
Required equipment: none (A mat is optional)
- Start by lying on your back on the mat with your legs straight outstretched in front of you as well as your arms behind your head.
- Inhale deeply then exhale as your contract your midsection to raise your chest to your thighs, simultaneously bending your knees to make a ninety-degree angle and raising your lower body off the ground to meet your chest.
- Focus on pulling yourself together, like a pair of sheers. Make sure that only your buttocks are in contact with the floor.
- Both your lower and upper body should come up evenly you should not be leaning more in one direction or seesawing. Hug your knees and hold this position for about two seconds.
- Inhale deeply as you slowly return to the floor, remembering to keep your core engaged resisting the motion as you make your way back to the ground.
- Your torso and legs should return to the ground simultaneously.
- At this point, you could choose to return to the floor completely or if you want more of a challenge, leave your legs slightly in the air and keep your upper body off the ground by just a few inches.
- Repeat this for about ten reps for three sets.
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
You could assist yourself by gently pulling on your shins with your arms when you are raising your upper and lower body.
Remember to keep your upper body stable, use your core strength to stabilize your body while doing knee hugs.
WHAT MUSCLES DO KNEE HUGS WORK?
Knee hugs target your abs and work your core this causes the fat in your midsection to be broken down to produce energy for the workout and also to build muscle.
It also works your hip flexors and obliques which strengthens your legs as well.
BENEFITS OF DOING KNEE HUGS
BURNS BELLY FAT
Knee hugs greatly challenge your core muscles not only as they use energy to contract as you bring your upper and lower body together.
But also, as you resist the weight of your body as you slowly lower down.
Fat is burned to produce this energy and also as you break down, repair and build more muscle.
Thus, the exercise is known to greatly and quickly trim belly fat with consistency
STRENGTHENS CORE AND LEG MUSCLES
The exercise works your core, quadriceps and obliques.
This strengthens them giving you a stronger core and legs which not only improves your power as you use but also your balance.
ALTERNATIVES TO DOING KNEE HUGS
A highly underrated exercise that can be used to heavily work your core and obliques at the same time.
Steps on how to do bicycle kicks:
Required equipment: none (a mat is optional)
- Start by lying down flat on your back, fully extend your legs in front of you and place both your hands behind your head. Make sure not to interlock them to not put a strain on your neck.
- Begin by pressing your lower back as flat as you can onto the ground. This is to eliminate any arch in the low back to prevent injury and help you fully engage your core before starting the exercise.
- Bring your left knee towards your chest, simultaneously raise your shoulders off the floor rotating them to bring your right elbow towards your left knee. Bring them close to touching as you can.
- Make sure to always keep the leg that is not bending fully extended and low to the floor to get the best effect and results from the exercise.
- After touching your left knee to your right elbow, lower your left leg down simultaneously bring your right knee towards your chest, rotating your shoulders to bring your left elbow to your right knee.
Perform these movements slowly and remember to keep your core fully engaged at all times for best results.
For beginners or those that will struggle with it you can start by leaving your shoulders planted on the ground without trying to bring your elbows to your knees focusing on the leg movement
This is an advanced bodyweight exercise that works most of the muscles located in your torso but mainly focuses on the core.
Required equipment: A bench or any stable object that you can hold onto while lying on the floor.
- Lie on the ground and lock your arms in a fixed overhead position gripping the sides of the bench or any stable object.
- Contract your torso and move your legs up as if you were performing a reverse crunch, make sure to keep your body rigid from shoulders to toes and avoid bending your hips.
- Once you have lifted most of your lower and upper body off the ground slowly lower your legs in a controlled motion until your body hovers just over the ground.
- Repeat for ten reps in a set of three.
If you cave in while lowering your body, drop your hips or arch your back to make the exercise easier.
KNEE HUGS MISTAKES TO AVOID
SPRINTING THROUGH REPS
A very common mistake among beginners. When you sprint through the knee hugs your larger body muscles such as your glutes take over and move your body with pure momentum.
Instead of fully engaging your core, to get maximum benefits.
TUGGING AT YOUR NECK
If you are straining your neck to get your knee and elbow closer, ease up the grip on your neck and make sure not to intertwine your fingers, instead place them gently behind your neck
Knee hugs is an exercise that is very effective in burning belly fat and trimming your tummy. It is also a very effective way to strengthen your core and work your quads at the same time.
It is quite easy to do, requires no equipment and very little space, making it an easy exercise to add to your home or gym workout routine.