Standing abs exercises can help strengthen the core muscles that support the spine, thereby improving balance, reducing the likelihood of injury, and improving the function of the body as a whole. Most people do abs exercises such as sit-ups or crunches, but many standing abs exercises will give the person just as strong of a workout while putting less strain on the lower back, neck, and shoulders. Standing leg cycles, toe touches, standing crunches, and toe twirls will not only work the abs muscles, but also improve balance during the exercises.
Standing leg cycles are one of the more common standing abs exercises that work the abs while improving balance. Start by standing with the legs about hip width apart. Raise the hands above the head and make fists with each hand. Simultaneously drop both arms and raise one knee until the thigh touches the stomach. This will produce a crunching sensation in the abs; once this crunch is felt, return to the starting position and repeat the motion with the opposite leg. This works both sides of the abs; several repetitions should be performed to produce the best results from any standing abs exercises.
Some standing abs exercises focus on lateral or diagonal motions to work the abs muscles on the sides of the stomach. Such exercises should be performed carefully, especially if the person has back pain issues, as such motions can exacerbate pain. To do such abs exercises, start by placing the feet about hip width apart. Raise the hands above the head, and in a simultaneous motion, drop the left arm and raise the right leg until the knee is bent at about a 90 degree angle. Try to bring the left elbow over to touch the right knee, as this should produce a crunching sensation. Return to the starting position and repeat the motion with the opposite arm and leg.
Dumbbells can be used to enhance standing abs exercises. One such exercise can be performed by holding a dumbbell in the left hand with the legs spread hip width apart. The lifter will put the right hand behind the head, and lean by bending at the waist to the side opposite the dumbbell. He or she will then return to the starting position slowly, completing one repetition. This should be done several times on each side of the body to work the oblique muscles on the sides of the abs.