Floor Crunch with Feet Up
This is similar to the floor crunch with back flattening, except you will be holding your feet in the air instead of having them on the ground. Lay on the floor (on your back) with your feet in the air and your knees bent to about 90 degrees. Activate your lower abdominal muscles, just like during the leg circles and flatten/push your low back into the ground. Work to maintain this contraction throughout the exercise. Then use your upper abdominals to raise your head and shoulders off the ground.
This must be very slow and controlled and once you start, your abdominals should not relax completely until the set is over. Be sure to keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth when your head is off the ground to fully engage your neck muscles. Focus on feeling a tight contraction in your abdominals and breathe out while rising off the ground.
Don’t worry how far you get off the ground, because if you raise up too high, your shoulders and back will be working instead of your abdominals. Perform around 15 reps, but stop if you no longer feel a strong contraction in your abdominals or if you feel tightness in the back of the neck (tightness in the front neck muscles is not a problem).
To increase the difficulty of this exercise, move your legs a little further away from your body. As with other abdominal exercises, if your low back starts coming off the ground, it means your legs are too far away and you need to bring them a little closer to your body.