The abdominal scissor exercise utilizes certain leg movements to develop and train the various abdominal core muscles, in addition to a few other key muscles. The key for appropriate use of this type of strength training is understanding which type of scissor movements train which muscle groups.
Vertical Scissors for Lower Abdominals and Hip Flexors
To perform vertical scissors, start by lying on the floor, face-up, with your legs fully extended and your hands under your buttocks for additional support. Raise both feet six inches form the floor, knees slightly bent to achieve the starting position for the exercise. Raise your right leg about 18 inches from the floor while keeping your left leg at the six-inch height. Slowly lower your right leg to the starting position while simultaneously raising your left leg to the 18-inch position. Continue the alternating leg movements for 10 to 12 repetitions over two to three sets as part of your abdominal training routine.
Horizontal Scissors for Lower Abdominals and Hip Muscles
The starting position for horizontal abdominal scissors is the same as the starting position for vertical abdominal scissors. However, once your feet are six inches from the ground, rather than moving your legs in a vertical direction, separate your feet and move your legs in a horizontal or outward direction, apart from each other. Briefly hold your legs in the separated position before bringing them back to the starting position. Once together, you can actually cross your feet over each other, alternating which foot is on top with each successive repetition. Continue the movement for 10 to 12 repetitions over two to three sets, or whatever repetition numbers you need to fatigue your lower abs.
Side Scissors for Lower Abdominals, Obliques, and Hip Flexors
Performing side scissors repeats the same leg movements as vertical scissors with one difference -- your body position. Lie on your right side with your right arm bent under your upper body, supporting your upper body weight, and raise your legs off the floor six inches with the left leg over your right. By holding your legs off the floor in this position, your obliques become activated. From this position, move your right leg forward as far as it will go. As you bring your right leg back to the starting position, move your left leg forward. Continue alternating the leg movements until you reach your desired repetition number. Once completed, roll to your left side and assume the same body position with your left arm supporting your upper body weight and feet off the floor and begin alternating your legs in the same forward and backward movement. Repeat for two to three sets on each side.
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2000
- "Personal Trainer Manual"; American Council on Exercise; 1997
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.