Single-leg and Double-leg Abdominal Presses

Working out doesn’t always have to be about getting huge. Sometimes it can be about building muscle tone in more subtle ways and recovering from injury.

The Single-leg and Double-leg Abdominal Presses come out of physical therapy, where they are used to help people in recovery from surgery or injuries. Though they were developed for recovery, these exercises are also useful for individuals who want to build their abdominal muscles

Singles and Doubles

The two different kinds of Abdominal Leg Presses are done in slightly different forms. The right form is of course always important when doing any kind of exercise. 

Here are the steps for the Single-leg Abdominal Press.

  • Lie on the floor on your back, feet flat and knees bent with hands lying palms down at your hips.
  • Tightening the core, lift the right knee and place your right hand on that knee. This is your starting position.
  • Pressing down with your right hand, pull the right knee towards the ceiling with your core muscles, pushing against your right hand.
  • Take three deep breaths in this position. 
  • Relax as you return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

After you’ve mastered the Single-leg Abdominal Press, move on to the Double-leg Abdominal Press. This is more challenging than the previous version, but by that same token it does a more rigorous job of toning the core.

  • Lie on the floor on your back, keeping the feet flat and knees bent, with your hands lying palms down at your hips.
  • Tightening the core, raise your legs one at a time, until the angle between the knees and hips is 90 degrees. 
  • Place both hands on top of the knees.
  • Pushing your hands against your knees, engage the abdominal muscles to pull the knees towards the torso.
  • Relax as you return to the starting position.

Mastering the Press

Here are some tips to keep both the Single-leg and Double-leg Abdominal Presses in proper form and working for you.

  • Avoid tilting the hips during either exercise.
  • The back should stay in a neutral position, meaning it is not arched and not pressing into the floor. 
  • Breathe deeply as you push the knees and tighten the abs.
  • Your head should remain on the floor, relaxed and in neutral spine position.
  • The hands are there as guide points to focus the attention, not to push with much strength.

Quick Variations

There are several possible variations of the Double-leg Abdominal Press. These include the following:

  • Inside Press, which is done with the hands crossed on the abdomen and palms on the inside of the knees. Pressure now goes to the outside of the legs as they push against the hands.
  • Outside Press, a variation performed with the hands on the outside of the knees. Pressure now goes towards the midline and then towards the knees.
  • Front Press. Do this one with the hands on the tops of the knees. Pressure now goes towards and away from the feet.

These are subtle variations, but they allow for strengthening of slightly different abdominal muscles.

Though the Single-leg and Double-leg Abdominal Presses are not as rigorous as some flashier abdominal workouts, they are perfect for people who are new to workouts or recovering from injuries.

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