Substitute for Knee Up Exercises

If you are unable to do hanging knee ups, situps are the only option to work your abdominals.
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Traditional knee up exercises involve pulling the knees up toward your chest from a hanging bar. The exercise works both your upper and lower abdominals but also requires upper-body strength. If upper-body strength is something you are lacking, have no fear. With a variety of exercises including traditional situps, your abs can still receive a comparable workout. Before starting any new exercise program, consult your physician.

Supine Reverse Crunches

    Step 1

    Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms out to your side in a “T” formation with your palms down. Raise your knees so they are at a 90-degree angle with the floor.

    Step 2

    As you exhale, raise your hips and bring your knees toward your chest. Hold this for three to five seconds.

    Step 3

    As you inhale, slowly lower your hips and knees to the starting 90-degree position. Repeat for five to 10 repetitions.


    Step 1

    Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your arms slightly behind you. Place your forearms at your side with your upper body supported on your forearm and elbows.

    Step 2

    As you exhale, engage your abdominal muscles and lift your left foot off the floor. Straighten your leg while pointing your toe and hold for five seconds. Inhale and return your leg to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg. Perform five to 10 repetitions with each leg.

    Step 3

    Adjust your upper body so your elbows and forearms are off the floor and you are supporting your upper body on your hands. Repeat the leg lifting sequence in Step 2.

    Step 4

    Return your upper body to the elbow position. This time you will be lifting both legs at the same time. Repeat for five to 10 repetitions. Lift your upper body back up onto your hands and repeat the double leg lifts for five to 10 repetitions.

    Step 5

    With your knees bent, lift your hands off the floor and reach your hands toward your feet. Your upper body should be leaning back at a 45-degree angle. Without the assistance of your arms for support, repeat the steps from Step 1. Once those are completed, raise both legs together for five to 10 repetitions.


    • Make sure your movements in these exercises are controlled. Do not allow for bouncing.


    • If you feel pain, especially in your lower back, stop the exercise and consult your physician.

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