10 Best Ab Stretches for Before & After Workouts

Most exercisers, newbie and skilled alike, desire a flat stomach and ripped abs. Some get there by means of eating regimen, correct coaching, and genetics…and a few don’t. Either manner, in case you do ab coaching persistently, it is advisable to bear in mind it isn’t nearly making your abdominals pop and core stronger. After a tough ab session, they have a tendency to get tight. Like some other muscle, you practice your abs by contracting by means of resistance, so generally, stretches shall be required to lower tightness, enhance mobility, and velocity up restoration.

Yes, you learn that corrects – stretch your abs. Just like different muscular tissues, when the abs are tight, overworked, or each, stretching the abs can help in returning them to their resting size sooner and might help in coaching restoration.

Here we’ll clarify how the abs perform, why they get tight, the advantages of stretching your abs, 10 nice ab stretches, and a few programming recommendations to include these stretches into your coaching.


The most recognizable ab muscle is the rectus abdominis (aka the six-pack muscle). But there are a few different essential ab muscular tissues that you just don’t see.  Here are the main gamers of the abs with their anatomy and performance.

Rectus Abdominis:

The rectus abdominis is what most individuals consult with because the six-pack muscle. This muscle runs vertically up the entrance of the torso, and its predominant capabilities are spinal flexion and anti-extension (sit-ups and planks, and so on.). The Rectus originates from the pubic symphysis, pubic crest, and pubic tubercle and inserts on the xiphoid course of and costal cartilages of the fifth to seventh ribs.

This muscle is resilient to fatigue as a result of it primarily consists of slow-twitch muscle fibers. The rectus abdominis performs an essential function in posture, respiration out, defending inside organs, and aiding in hip flexion.


The obliques are made up of two muscular tissues: the interior and exterior obliques. They’re beside the rectus abs and run from the hips to the rib cage, wrapping across the sides of your torso. As the identify suggests, the inside obliques run immediately beneath the exterior obliques, and the muscle fibers journey reverse of one another. 

Internal obliques originate from the Inguinal ligament, Iliac crest, and the lumbodorsal (again) fascia and insert on linea alba, pectineal Line of pubis, and ribs 10-12. The exterior indirect originates from the exterior surfaces of ribs 5-12 and inserts the linea alba, pubic tubercle, and anterior half of the iliac crest across the pelvis.

Both the exterior and inside obliques work to stabilize the core by means of anti-lateral flexion and anti-rotation. They additionally work to rotate the core. However, they fireplace off reverse of one another. For instance, your proper exterior obliques will work together with your left inside obliques to create the identical motion.

Transverse Abdominals:

It’s useful to think about the transversus abdominis like a belt you tighten your free pants with. It sits beneath your rectus abdominis and wraps round your whole torso to your backbone. It originates from the Internal surfaces of costal cartilages of ribs 7-12, thoracolumbar (decrease again) fascia, and the anterior two-thirds of the iliac crest, The TA inserts on the linea alba, aponeurosis of inside indirect muscle, pubic crest, pectineal line of the pubis.

The TA’s predominant perform is sustaining stomach rigidity which helps you enhance intra-abdominal strain and protects your whole backbone beneath heavy hundreds.

abdominal stretches

For the aim of this text, we’re specializing in stretching the rectus abdominis, as that is the muscle that normally will get tight for folks. However, a few of these stretches may also contain the opposite stomach muscular tissues, so it is good to know the way issues work.


When you are feeling tightness in your abs there are a few explanations for this.

If it is your precise abdomen that feels tight, that might be associated to nervousness, digestion, or another well being problem. No stretching goes to assist your precise intestine.

Nevertheless, it is fairly simple to inform the distinction between tight abs and a good intestine. 

Let’s consider a number of bodily and efficiency the explanation why your abs could also be tight.

A tough coaching session: After a tough exercise session, your abs might change into tight and sore.
Unbalanced train programming: Too many crunches and sit-ups and never sufficient anti-extension coaching like planks.

Poor posture: If you’re hunched over with rounded shoulders and a ahead head your abs are consistently contracted and change into tight.

You sit an excessive amount of: Again your abs are contracted and consistently engaged. 
Poor respiration patterns: If you’re a chest breather and never respiration deeply and utilizing your diaphragm this may increasingly trigger your higher abs to change into tight.

If that sounds such as you then you’ll profit from stretching your abs.


If your abs are chronically tight and even simply uncomfortably tight after a tough ab session, then you’ll profit from stretching them and returning them to their supreme size.

Here are a number of essential advantages of stretching your abs when they’re tight:

Improved Range of Motion: Abs are like some other muscular tissues, when they’re tight, you may’t obtain a full vary of movement with many workouts, which implies you might be leaving positive aspects on the desk. A muscle at all times works finest when it’s in a position to undergo a full ROM.

Reduces Muscular Tension: Muscles which are tight are tense and once they’re tense, they’re rigid and certain trigger discomfort. Reducing muscular rigidity in your abs will enhance their flexibility and any discomfort.

Decrease in Muscle Pain and Improved Recovery: Pain and soreness is a difficult factor however a muscle that’s versatile and at its supreme size is much less more likely to be in ache. Stretching after coaching helps a muscle return to its resting size faster and subsequently improves your restoration after coaching.

Reduces Injury Risk: When you enhance the flexibility of a muscle and reduce muscular rigidity, it’s much less probably you’ll undergo an harm. While you may by no means scale back the danger to zero, focused stretching helps.


Here are 10 of the very best ab stretches. You’ll discover that different muscular tissues may also be stretched for many of those stretches, and that is nice, however the principle focus of every shall be on the abdominals.

1. Kneeling Backward Abdominal Stretch

how to stretch your abs

This backward stomach stretch is carried out in a tall kneeling place. It not solely stretches the rectus abs, however this stretch opens up your chest muscular tissues and the tall kneeling place engages the glutes as properly. Be cautious to not overarch the decrease again to the touch the again of your heels. This motion wants to return from the hips and the higher again, not the decrease again.

Muscles Stretched: Rectus abdominals, chest, anterior shoulders, and biceps.

How to Do the Kneeling Backward Abdominal Stretch:

Get right into a tall kneeling place, knees beneath hips and toes on the bottom.
Engage your glutes, prolong the higher again and attain again together with your arms and seize the again of your toes.
Either maintain the stretch for time or repeat for reps to make it extra of a dynamic stretch.

Programming recommendations: Either maintain this stretch for time between 20-60 seconds or carry out dynamically for reps – dynamically being, maintain the stretch for a number of seconds and return to the beginning place, then repeat.

2. Cat-Cow Stretch

best ab stretches

The cat-cow is a yoga stretch that targets the abs in the course of the cow place. This helps open up your higher again and mobilize your backbone. Now the stretch on the abs feels nice however watch out in case you undergo from any decrease again ache. Just transfer into as a lot spinal extension as you comfortably can. Over time, you must have the ability to normalize your vary of movement.

Muscles stretched: Upper again, decrease again, and rectus abs

How to Do the Cat-Cow Stretch:

Position your self on fours together with your palms beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
Feel your abs and arch your backbone towards the ceiling like a cat hunching its again.
Tuck your chin to your chest and maintain for 20-30 seconds. 
Return to the starring place after which push your abs in direction of the ground and your chest up till you are feeling a stretch in your abs. This is the cow place.
Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat if crucial.

Programming Suggestions: Do this pose on the finish of your coaching as an act on restoration.

3. Prone Abdominal Stretch

stretching abs

The susceptible stomach stretch is also called the cobra pose. This stretch won’t solely stretch your higher area of the abs (which is commonly the place you’ll really feel probably the most tightness), however work in your hip mobility, open up your chest, and practice shoulder stability. If you are feeling this an excessive amount of in your decrease again, work on stretching out the size of your backbone and don’t overarch the decrease again to attain this stretch. 

Muscles Stretched: Rectus abs and chest

How to Do the Prone Abdominal Stretch:

Start by mendacity susceptible on the ground together with your palms beneath your shoulders.
Push your hips into the ground as you straighten your arms to carry your higher physique off the bottom.
Puff your chest out and maintain this stretch for 20-30 seconds.
Return to the beginning place and repeat two to 4 instances.

Programming Suggestion: Do this stretch on the finish of your coaching as an act on restoration.

4. Lying Rotation Stretch

ab stretches before workout

The mendacity rotation stretch is a superb stretch for your obliques and opening up your abs. Having the soundness of the ground permits you to ease into this stretch too. This transfer opens up your chest and anterior shoulder and trains thoracic mobility, the flexibility to increase your higher again. Extending the higher again is required to maintain a impartial backbone throughout heavy-loaded workouts just like the barbell squat and deadlift. 

Muscles Stretched: Internal and exterior obliques, entrance deltoid, and chest

How to Do the Lying Rotation Stretch:

Lie in your aspect and convey each knees in direction of your chest.
Place the arm closest to the ground in your knee to stop them from shifting.
With the opposite arm straight in entrance of your attain again behind you are feeling a stretch in your obliques, chest and shoulder.
Hold for a number of seconds and repeat for reps.

Programming Suggestions: This is a superb dynamic stretch to carry out at the beginning of your higher physique coaching for 10-15 reps on all sides.

5. Seated Lower Trunk Lateral Flexion Stretch

core stretches

Sitting down right here permits you to give attention to stretching each your obliques and the quadratus lumborum. Putting your palms behind your head ensures upright posture to make sure you get probably the most out of this stretch.

Muscles Stretched: Obliques and the quadratus lumborum

How to Do the Seated Lower Trunk Lateral Flexion Stretch:

Sit upright in a chair together with your palms behind your head.
With your elbows stage together with your shoulders laterally flex the burden as you’re taking your proper elbow in direction of your proper hip.
Either maintain for time or carry out as a dynamic stretch going back and forth holding for a number of seconds every time.

Programming Suggestions: Either maintain for 30-60 seconds on all sides or carried out as a managed dynamic stretch for 15 reps on all sides.

6. Hip Extension Supported Backward Ab Stretch

lower ab stretches

Similar to the backward stomach stretch, this stretch stretches the rectus abs opens up the chest and supplies a slight stretch of the lats. If you could have hassle performing the backward ab stretch, it is a nice various to maximise the stretch of the higher and decrease area of your abs.

Muscles stretched: Rectus abs, chest, and lats

How to Do the Hip Extension Supported Backward Ab Stretch: 

Stand up flush together with your again to a pole and rise up straight.
Grab maintain of the pole with each palms, fall ahead and squeeze your glutes.
With your arms bent 90 levels puff out your chest and really feel a stretch in your anterior core.
Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat if crucial.

Programming Suggestion: Do this stretch on the finish of your coaching as an act of restoration.

7. Bodyweight Standing Oblique Twist


When the obliques get tight it hinders your skill to twist and for them to interact for anti-rotation functions. Enter the standing indirect twist which had you twisting aspect to aspect for both reps or holding for time. Be cautious once more of over-twisting the lumbar backbone and ensure the motion comes from the obliques. Hips ought to stay largely squared ahead.

Muscles stretched: Internal and exterior obliques

How to do the Bodyweight Oblique Standing Twist:

Stand up straight together with your palms in your hips and your toes hip-width aside.
Twist so far as you may to 1 aspect with none help from the decrease again.
Return to beginning place and repeat on the opposite aspect.

Programming recommendations: You can maintain this stretch for time or carry out dynamically as a part of your warmup. Either maintain for 30 seconds at a time on all sides or commute holding for a number of seconds for 15 reps on all sides.

8. Standing Hip Circles

stretching abdominals

The standing hip circle is a dynamic stretch that stretches all the stomach wall and can get you prepared for the work forward within the gymnasium and on the taking part in subject. Be cautious to carry out the hip circles with management and focus on holding a impartial backbone. Momentum will take the advantages away.

Muscles Stretched: Obliques, rectus abs, and to a lesser extent the chest

How To Do the Standing Hip Circle:

Stand up straight together with your palms in your hips.
Lean your torso ahead and to the best and carry out a circle together with your torso till you might be standing and leaning again barely.
Go again and repeat on the opposite aspect.
Alternate for reps.

Programming Suggestion: Perform 10-15 reps in every path as a part of your warm-up.

9. Standing Lean Back Stomach Stretch

stretches for abs

Like the opposite backward ab stretches above, the standing lean again stretch strikes you thru hip extension and spinal extension, which implies each the higher and decrease areas of the rectus abdominis shall be stretched successfully. Because when a stretch is painful it negates the advantages.

Muscles Stretched: Rectus abs

How To Do the Standing Lean Back Stomach Stretch:

Stand up straight and put your palms in your bottom.
Slide your palms down as you lean backward till you are feeling a stretch in your anterior core.
Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat if crucial.

Programming Suggestion: Perform on the finish of your coaching to assist your abs return to their resting size. 

10. Rotating Stomach Stretch

upper ab exercises 

The rotating abdomen stretch is just like the mendacity pose stomach stretch besides you might be shifting back and forth and bringing the obliques into play. This is carried out both as a dynamic stretch as a part of your warm-up or maintain for a time to enhance your ab flexibility.

Muscles Stretched: Rectus abs and obliques

How To Do the Rotating Stomach Stretch:

Start by mendacity susceptible on the ground together with your palms beneath your shoulders.
Push your hips into the ground as you straighten your arms to carry your higher physique off the bottom.
Straighten your proper arm and push your self to the left till your really feel a stretch in your obliques.
Either maintain for time or go side-to-side with management for reps.

Programming Suggestions: Do this as a part of your warm-up going back and forth with management for 10-15 reps. Or maintain the stretch for 30 seconds on all sides on the finish of your coaching.


Like with most issues, it relies upon. When your abs are tight it’s a good suggestion to stretch them for round 10 minutes. After coaching works finest as a result of your muscular tissues are heat and are extra receptive to stretching.

Do mild and dynamic stretches earlier than a exercise in case your abs are feeling tight.

When you’re incorporating ab stretches as a part of your stretching routine, performing two or three of those ab stretches for a minute every works properly. Again, stretching on the finish of your exercise works finest right here.

Try to choose one every that works on spinal extension, hip extension, and rotation. That will cowl all of your bases for that mobility and stretching session. For instance:

Prone Abdominal Stretch
Hip Extension Supported Backward Stretch
Oblique Twists


Abs should not the primary muscle that involves thoughts whenever you consider stretching but when your abs are tight then stretching will assist. You’ll really feel higher, look higher and transfer higher when your abs are at their supreme size.

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