Many people are unable to perform supine abdominal exercises, including pregnant women, people with lower back problems or the elderly. Writing for the website Body Results, certified strength and conditioning specialist Courtenay Schurman says seated abdominal exercises are a beneficial way to strengthen your core without using any special equipment and without the need for a lot of space. If you have a medical condition, obtain clearance from your doctor before performing these exercises.
Seated Pelvic Tilt
The seated pelvic tilt helps warm up your spine and abdominal muscles and prepares you for more challenging core exercises. Sit up straight in a chair or on a fitness ball with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Relax your arms by your sides. Exhale and rock your pelvis forward, engaging your abdominal muscles to create a "C" shape with your lower spine. Your upper body should move as little as possible during this motion. Inhale and tilt your pelvis back to arch your lower back. Perform this action several times.
Seated Oblique Crunch
This exercise targets your obliques, the muscles located on the sides of your abdomen. Sit in a chair that does not have arm rests. Place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Interlace your fingers behind your head. Inhale, and as you exhale, twist your body to the right, crunch forward and simultaneously lift your right knee. Bring your left elbow as close as possible to your right knee. Inhale and return to your starting position. Exhale and twist to the left, crunch forward and lift your left knee. Bring your right elbow as close as possible to your left knee. Inhale and return to your starting position. Perform between eight and 10 repetitions on each side.
Seated Medicine Ball Trunk Rotations
According to the American Council on Exercise, the seated medicine ball trunk rotation focuses on two muscles: the rectus abdominus, that runs directly down the center of your abdomen and extends from your ribs to your pubic bone, and the transverse abdominus, which is the innermost abdominal muscle that wraps around your torso. You will need a light medicine ball, around 1 or 2 pounds, to perform this exercise. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your heels around 2.5 to 3 feet from your buttocks. Hold the medicine ball in your hands at chest height. Sit tall and engage your abdominal muscles. Inhale, and as you exhale, rotate your torso to the right. Keep your hips facing forward and move the ball and your torso together, as though they are attached. Inhale and exhale, rotating to the left using the same smooth motion. Repeat this motion several times.
This simple exercise engages and works your rectus abdominus. Sit on a fitness ball or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. If sitting in a chair, scoot your buttocks forward so that your back is not touching the back of the chair. Cross your arms over your chest, sit up tall and inhale deeply. As you exhale, lean your body back as far as you can, engaging your core muscles and keeping your head, neck and spine aligned. Hold this contraction for a few seconds, then inhale and return to your starting position.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.