Knee pull-ins is a calisthenics exercise that primarily targets the abs but also works your quadriceps and hip flexors.
This helps tone your midsection by burning fat and growing muscle.
For this exercise, you preferably want to use a yoga mat or any other soft surface to lie on, but this is optional and only makes the exercise slightly more comfortable to do.
Steps on how to do knee pull-ins:
- Start by lying down on your back with your legs outstretched in front of you and right next to each other on the ground.
- Press down your arms on your sides or against your chest for balance.
- Push your lower back against the ground so that your legs start hovering a few inches above the ground. Tilt your feet back, so that the bottom of your heels are facing up.
- Bend your knees and raise your legs so that they form a ninety-degree angle.
- Engage your core and use it to slowly move your knees towards your chest, as far as you can comfortably reach.
- From a certain point, your lower back will begin to get off the ground too. At this point slowly lower and stretch your legs in a controlled motion.
- Remember to resist the momentum on the way down with your core.
- Using that position as your start point repeat the exercise for about fifteen reps for three sets.
If you wish to make the exercise more challenging, instead of resting your legs on the ground when you move back down.
You could keep your feet hovering just above the ground and your lower back pressed against the floor with the help of your abs, and use this as the starting point of all the following reps.
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Place your hands under your buttocks for better support and to reduce the tension on your abs to make knee pull-ins easier.
Remember to breathe consistently as you perform the exercise and to keep your core tight throughout the workout for maximum results.
WHAT MUSCLES DO KNEE PULL-INS WORK?
Knee pull-ins primarily target your abs and your obliques but also works your lower back, hip flexors and hamstrings. By engaging these muscles they undergo strain that damages them enough.
This may sound counterproductive but this makes it so that your body repairs these muscles and adds a bit more to be prepared to exert similar efforts in the future.
BENEFITS OF DOING KNEE PULL-INS
This exercise is a type of resistance training that helps you strengthen not only your abs and obliques but also your hip flexors and hamstrings.
HELPS LOSE WEIGHT
Doing knee pull-ins drains you of a lot of energy this burns a lot of calories. Building extra muscle mass also helps with burning more of them.
This causes fat around your body to be broken down to produce this energy.
IMPROVES BALANCE AND COORDINATION
your balance and coordination are challenged, as you lift your legs off the ground and pull your knees to your chest you have to remain balanced to prevent yourself from falling over.
This together with strengthening your core improves your balance and arm coordination.
ALTERNATIVES TO KNEE PULL-INS
A popular exercise that targets your abdominals, particularly the lower half.
For this exercise, you also do not require any equipment, only a yoga mat if you so wish.
- Lay face up on the floor with your arms at your sides.
- Bend your legs at the knee and flex your abs to slowly raise your legs, so that your knees are directly above your hips and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. This is your starting point.
- Brace your abdominal muscles and maintain a neutral spine with your back firmly planted on the floor.
- Exhale as you contract your abs to curl your hips and knees towards your chest, making sure that only your hips come off the mat as you curl.
- Your head should remain straight and your neck and shoulders should remain relaxed on the floor.
- Inhale deeply and slowly return to your starting position.
- Do this for about ten repetitions for three sets.
Avoid moving too fast and using your momentum to curl you up rather than the contraction of your abs.
AB WHEEL ROLLOUT
It is an extremely effective exercise that teaches you to activate your core stabilizers and strengthen your abs, obliques and shoulders.
Required equipment: Ab wheel, a mat is optional
- Get your ab wheel and position it in front of you while you kneel on your mat. Grab the handles of the ab wheel and place your full weight on it.
- From this kneeling position cross your legs behind you and lift your feet off the mat.
- Round your upper back and lock your shoulders into place keeping your back in a neutral alignment.
- Brace your core and squeeze your glutes. Roll the wheel out in front of you, maintaining your torso alignment throughout the exercise.
- Pause for a second at your full extension, remembering to breathe throughout the exercise.
- Reverse your movement by tightening your ab muscles even further and returning to the starting position.
Do not forget to keep your elbows straight throughout the workout.
KNEE PULL-INS MISTAKES TO AVOID
It is a common mistake made by many, doing knee pull-ins as fast as possible not paying attention to form. This causes you to engage your hip flexors more than your core.
Making you swing back and forth instead of moving slowly and fully engaging your core for maximum results.
ADDING TOO MUCH WEIGHT
The weighted version of the exercise is for experienced personnel who want to take the exercise a notch higher and to grow more muscle. Thus, you use dumbbells, a medicine ball or a weight jacket placed between your legs.
But if this is overdone or too much weight is used your muscles will be broken down at a much faster rate or your body might not be able to handle the extra weight. Bring about an injury.
Knee pull-ins is an effective workout for building core muscles and balance, they require very little space and no equipment for the basic version.
This makes it a very good exercise to incorporate into your workout routine if you wish to build and strengthen your core muscles.