What are the Different Types of Stomach Stretches?

Kristin Wood

Stomach stretches are done to stretch the abdominal muscles before and after exercising. There are several different ways to approach stomach stretches. A stretching routine can be done while kneeling, standing up or lying down.

An anatomical illustration showing many muscles in the upper body, including most of the abdominal muscles.
An anatomical illustration showing many muscles in the upper body, including most of the abdominal muscles.

There are four different stomach muscles--the transverse abdominal, the internal obliques, the external obliques and the rectus abdominis. Fitness experts typically recommend warming up each individual muscle to avoid painful strains, tears or other injuries. The stomach muscles give postural support, and a sore or injured stomach might affect someone even while he is simply sitting at his desk. Practicing a diverse amount of stomach stretches could prevent this painful situation.

Stomach stretches can be done to help tone the stomach.
Stomach stretches can be done to help tone the stomach.

One stomach stretch starts while lying with the back flat on the ground with the hips and shoulders parallel to each other and the head carefully centered. Keeping her body perfectly aligned, the stretcher will raise her arms above her head and stretch them as far as possible. She will also point her toes, pulling both her stomach and back straight and long. This position is usually held for 10 to 15 seconds, and repeated several times. This stretch can also be done standing up if the exerciser finds herself in limited space.

Some people might want to adopt yoga into their daily stretching routine. One of the popular yoga stomach stretches is called upward dog. The exerciser will begin by lying flat on his stomach. In this position, he can stretch his stomach by propping just his upper body up with straight locked arms. He will then pull his head back as far as he can, looking to the ceiling. This stomach stretch will typically be held for up to 15 seconds and repeated three to five times.

The oblique stomach muscles can warm up through a stretch called the bow. While standing, the person will lift her left hand over her head while she bends sideways to the right. After holding this position for several seconds, she can switch, using her right arm and bending to the left.

More stomach stretches are available to those who have access to an exercise ball. The exerciser can begin by sitting with his back aligned straight against the ball. Using his feet, he will slowly begin pushing his back against the ball, lifting his bottom off the ground and rolling the ball backward against his back. The arms will be placed above the head, and the hands will eventually meet the floor on the other side. The end result will be the person's body forming a bridge over the ball.

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Discussion Comments


What is another good yoga stomach stretching exercise in addition to the upward dog? I have just started learning some yoga moves, and this is one of the first ones I learned.

I would like to find some other yoga exercises that stretch and work my stomach muscles. I have been pleasantly surprised at the way my body has responded to the yoga sessions I have been doing.


I never thought I would enjoy using an exercise ball, and wasn't sure I wanted one taking up so much room in my exercise area. I don't have a very big space to do this in, but once I tried one at the gym, I decided I needed to have one at home too.

There are a lot of exercises you can do with the ball, including abdominal stretches that are very beneficial for you. Using the exercise ball is also easier on my joints.

When my nieces come over, they like to experiment with the ball too. I think this is also a great way to get them interested in exercise, and it gives me chance to show them how important it is to keep our muscles stretched and loosened up.


I know some people think this probably sounds strange, but I enjoy doing stomach stretching exercises. There is something about stretching as far as you can that is both invigorating and relaxing at the same time.


I like to stretch my oblique muscles with the bow stretch every time before I start my aerobic exercise routine. Since this is done standing up, I think it is one of the easiest stretches for the stomach.

There are times when I am tempted to skip this stretch and start in with the aerobic routine, but I know how important it is to stretch my muscles before I start working them. This stretch not only strengthens my abdominal muscles, but just also just make my whole body feel good.

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