Most of us want to get the most out of every exercise in our workout routine. We have no time to waste! So when it comes to core exercises, consider turning to the scissor kick ab exercise, the ultimate multi-tasker.
Scissor kicks not only work every muscle in your core — including your luscious six-pack muscles — they also build hip and thigh strength. And Offers a cardio boost.
Here’s how to reap the many benefits of the scissor kick exercise.
Scissor Kick: Step-by-Step Instructions
- Lie on your back with your arms down by your sides.
- Lift both of your feet a few inches off the ground and spread them slightly apart in a “V” shape. Engage your core and press your bottom into the floor.
- Keeping both legs straight, bring your legs together and cross your right leg over the left. Extend your legs back into a “V” and then bring your legs together again, this time crossing your left leg over the right.
- Continue alternating until you complete all repetitions.
- Always keep your lower back pressed to the floor. If it starts to arch, lift your leg up to reduce the tension on your core.
A variation of the scissor kick
There are many ways to modify the scissor kick exercise to suit your current ability and fitness level.
- Make it simple: If standard scissor kicks are too intense, Beachbody fitness expert Cody Brown suggests bending one leg and placing that leg on the floor while moving the other leg straight back and forth. Switch sides to do an equal number of repetitions with both legs.
- Make it harder: If you want to increase the intensity, Brown suggests adding a hollow body position, which makes it harder for your core muscles to keep you stable with less floor support. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on your back and place your hands gently behind your ears with your elbows wide.
- Lift your head and shoulders off the floor in a partial crunch and keep your neck neutral; Do not hold your head with your hands or pull your chin.
- Cross your legs back and forth, making sure to keep your lower back pressed into the floor.
- There is another way to perform this exercise which is sometimes referred to as a flutter kick. It’s similar, but instead of crossing your legs, you just move them up and down.
What muscles does the scissor kick work?
Like other core exercises, this one targets your abdominal muscles, which are responsible for keeping your trunk and spine stable, Brown explains:
- Rectus abdominis
- Transverse abdomen
Additionally, the scissor kick provides the added benefit of working some muscles in your lower body, as you cross your legs:
- Hip abductors (those that draw your legs out to the sides)
- Inner thigh muscles
And since you’re constantly moving into this exercise, it can be a great addition to any cardio circuit. Scissor kicks during a cardio circuit will keep your heart rate elevated while working your core muscles. That way, you don’t waste time doing separate cardio and core sessions.