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How to Do a Hanging Ab Curl

This Challenging Exercise Will Take Your Abs to the Next Level

Have you ever gone to the gym and just marveled at some of the things you see other people doing? There's the girl who can squat twice her bodyweight, which is amazing! There's the older lady who looks fitter than women half her age. There's even the young teen who does so many steps on the stair climber that she'd have reached the top of the Empire State Building by the time you're still on the third flight. The truth is, everyone's fitness level is different and anyone putting in the work should feel great about what they do. But having said that, it's hard to watch others and not feel at least a little left behind sometimes. We get that. And that's why we're going to show you how to do one move that will help you craft a strong and lean core all while becoming the woman that everyone's inspired by from afar.

The move we're prepping you to do is the hanging ab curl. If you've ever seen pictures of it, you're probably thinking there's no way you can do it, but that's where you're wrong. Sure, you may not be able to do more than one (or even one) rep today, but if you train right and focus on the form, you can build your way up to mastering this move and seeing the amazing results on your flat belly as a result! So, how are you going to do this move? We're glad you asked, because we asked noted abs expert Kendall Wood, CSCS and coauthor of Core Fitness Solution, to give us the skinny on how to do it right. "Lots of people will look at this exercise and immediately say they can't do it, but almost anyone can progress their fitness to do the hanging ab curl," Kendall told POPSUGAR.

How to Do a Hanging Ab Curl

To progress through it, Wood suggests you get comfortable hanging off of a chin-up bar: "Do some wide-grip chin-ups and hang for a few seconds between reps so your upper body can get used to the position." From there, simply start pulling your legs up using your lower abs, but don't get discouraged if you can't bring them all the way up right away. "Even just bringing your legs up halfway is a victory on the first few attempts of doing this move," Wood told us. Once you get comfortable in this movement and you're able to bring your knees up so your hamstrings are parallel with the floor (and your knees are making a 90-degree angle), you're ready to start actually doing the hanging ab curl.

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  • Hang off a pull-up bar with your palms facing out or toward each other.
  • With your body hanging off the bar in a straight line, contract your abs inward.
  • Without swinging your weight, and using your core exclusively, bring your knees up to your chest as you exhale.
  • Lower your legs back to the starting position slowly. That's one rep.
  • Perform this move as many times as you can at the end of a core workout.

If you find this move to difficult to do using a bar, you can modify the exercise by performing it on a vertical knee raise machine instead.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
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