Lying on the floor and performing the classic sit-up or crunch is not the only way to tone and define your abs. An alternative, which puts less strain on your neck and back, is to perform abdominal exercises while standing. A workout consisting of several types of standing ab exercises performed two or three days per week will help you develop that defined, sought-after six-pack. Some exercises can be performed without training aids, while others require inexpensive weights or special fitness machines and attachments.
Perform a 10-minute dynamic warm-up to elevate your heart rate, get your blood flowing and loosen up your muscles. Warm-up activities can include a slow jog, jumping jacks, riding a stationary bicycle, jumping rope or any combination of these exercises.
Perform standing bicycle kicks to kick off your ab workout. Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart, hands behind your head with your elbows pointing out to the sides and maintain a slight bend in your knees. Contract your stomach muscles, lift your right knee, twist your torso slightly to the right and dip your left elbow down as far as you can to your right knee. Return to the starting position and repeat. Perform 12 reps and then repeat with your opposite knee and elbow to complete one set. Perform two or three sets.
Add some resistance with a dumbbell and perform the reverse wood chop exercise. Hold a dumbbell with both hands, bend your knees slightly and lower your body into a shallow squat. Start with your arms straight and the weight just to the side of your left thigh. While keeping your stomach muscles tight, stand and raise the dumbbell across your body to above your right shoulder. Reverse your movement and repeat. Perform 12 reps and then repeat in the opposite direction to complete one set. Perform two or three sets. For more intensity, hold a weight in each hand.
Complete your workout with standing cable crunches. Hook up a rope attachment to the upper pulleys and set the pin in the weight stack at the desired resistance. Stand with your back to the machine -- about a foot away -- reach back and grab the handles of the rope. Start with your hands to the sides of your head, palms facing inward and your elbows pointing straight ahead. While keeping your hands in this position, contract your stomach muscles and curl or crunch forward. Bring your head as close as possible to your thighs. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Perform 10 to 12 reps for two or three sets.