Scissor Kicks: A Fun Exercise That Will Tone Your Legs And Core

Have you been struggling to target your lower abs during your workouts? Do you find yourself doing endless crunches, but still not seeing the desired results? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people face this issue, and it’s a common problem that can be caused by a lack of engagement in certain muscle groups. But, fear not, because there is a simple solution to this problem – scissor kicks! In this blog post, I’ll be sharing how scissor kicks can help you achieve the toned lower abs you’ve been dreaming of.

Scissor Kicks Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Iliopsoas (Psoas Major & Iliacus)
  • Secondary Muscles: Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus, Pectineus, Rectus Femoris, Sartorius, and Tensor Fasciae Latte
  • Equipment: Body Weight
  • Mechanics Type: Isolated
  • Force: Pull
  • Utility: Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit woman performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Scissor Kicks Instructions

  • Setup by laying supine, your back down, on a bench or mat.
  • Place your hands under your lower buttock on each side to support your pelvis.
  • Raise one leg up vertically with your knees nearly straight.
  • If lying on the floor, raise the other leg slightly off of the floor. Keeping knees nearly straight, simultaneously changing the positions of your legs so you lower your vertical leg while raising your lower leg vertically.
  • Continue alternating leg positions in a scissoring motion for 20 or more reps.

Video Tutorial

Scissor Kicks For Women Abs | How To

Scissor Kicks Muscles

Target (Agonist)


  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Longus
  • Pectineus
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Sartorius
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the scissor kicks exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Scissor Kicks

The exercise Scissor Kicks is an effective way to work the iliopsoas muscle group, which consists of the psoas major and iliacus muscles. This exercise helps to improve core strength and stability, as well as flexibility in the hip flexors. It also helps to strengthen the lower back, improve posture, and reduce the risk of lower back pain. As a result of performing this exercise regularly, individuals can experience improved balance, coordination, and agility. Additionally, Scissor Kicks can help to increase overall cardiovascular endurance and burn calories.

Tips for Performing Scissor Kicks

Your at the right place if you’re trying to enhance your scissor kicks execution. These tips can allow you to benefit fully from this first-class exercise and maximize its results. You’ll have the ability to shape your core muscles, and minimize your risk of injury. So let’s start now and see what these tips may accomplish for you.

  • Keep your core tight: Keeping your core tight during scissor kicks helps to ensure proper form and helps to keep your back safe.
  • Keep your feet flexed: Keeping your feet flexed throughout the exercise helps to activate your glutes and hamstrings, making it easier to engage the proper muscles during the exercise.
  • Stay in control: Being mindful of the speed and range of motion of the exercise can help you avoid injury and ensure that you get the most benefit from the exercise.

Benefits and Tips Video

Scissor Kicks - XFit Daily

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When it comes to conducting scissor kicks, avoiding typical errors can be the difference between an effective workout and a painful injury. Also, in order to maximize the benefits of the exercise, appropriate technique is critical. By preventing these frequent mistakes, you may raise your ability to achieve your desired results. Don’t worry, though, it’s not at all difficult as it might seem. You can execute the exercise safely and efficiently by avoiding the errors to prevent and by executing the proper steps. Thus, it is now your turn to optimize the impact of this exercise and experience the benefits of a successful workout.

  • Not using proper form: Many people tend to use too much momentum when performing scissor kicks, which can lead to back pain and decreased effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Not engaging the core: Failing to engage the core while performing scissor kicks can result in an ineffective exercise and also increase risk of injury.
  • Not taking breaks: Doing too many scissor kicks without taking a break can lead to fatigue and muscle soreness, making it more difficult to complete the exercise properly.

Find More Bodyweight Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

If you’re looking to switch up your workout routine and need some variation, complementary, or alternative exercises for Scissor Kicks, there are plenty of options. Below is a list of exercises that work similar muscles to Scissor Kicks and can be used to build strength and stability in the same areas.

Lying Knee Up

Graphic image of Lying Knee Up.

Lying Knee Up is a great complementary or alternative exercise to Scissor Kicks. This exercise works the same muscles as Scissor Kicks, but in a different way. Lying Knee Up requires you to lie on your back, with your feet flat on the ground. You then bring your knees up towards your chest and hold for a few seconds before returning your feet to the ground. This exercise helps strengthen and tone the core muscles, which helps improve balance and stability. It is also beneficial for improving range of motion in the hips and knees.

Leg Lift

Graphic image of Leg Lift.

Leg lifts are an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to scissor kicks. This exercise works the same muscles, but rather than kicking the legs up and down, the legs are slowly lifted up and then lowered back down to the ground. It is important to keep the core engaged while performing this exercise to ensure proper form and maximum benefit. Leg lifts can be done with both straight legs and bent knees and can be modified to make them easier or more challenging depending on individual fitness levels. They are a great way to improve hip strength and stability and can be used as a standalone exercise or as part of a larger workout routine.

L Sit Hold

Graphic image of L Sit Hold.

The L Sit Hold is a great complementary or alternative exercise to Scissor Kicks. It is an isometric exercise that targets the core and works the hip flexors and quadriceps. The L Sit Hold requires the participant to sit up with their legs straight out in front of them and their hands on the floor. The participant then holds this position for as long as possible. This exercise helps to improve balance and stability, as well as increase muscular endurance. Additionally, it can help to build strength in the core, hips, and legs, making it a great alternative or supplement to the Scissor Kicks exercise.

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Hollow Bench Hold

Graphic image of Hollow Bench Hold.

Hollow Bench Hold is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to Scissor Kicks. The goal of the Hollow Bench Hold is to strengthen the core muscles, particularly the abdominals, while also stretching the lower back. It is a great exercise for improving balance and stability and can be done with or without weights. By using the bench as an anchor point, you can create tension in the core muscles and engage them for a more intense workout. This exercise is also beneficial for those who may have difficulty performing Scissor Kicks due to tightness in the hips or lower back. Additionally, the Hollow Bench Hold can help to improve posture and coordination, making it a great addition to any workout routine.

Cross Body Mountain Climbers

Graphic image of Cross Body Mountain Climbers.

Cross body mountain climbers are an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to scissor kicks. This exercise is done in a high plank position and involves bringing one knee towards the opposite elbow while maintaining a straight line from the shoulders to the feet. This exercise works the core, arms, and legs while engaging the entire body. Cross body mountain climbers are great for increasing balance, coordination, and stability while challenging the body in a dynamic way. Additionally, this exercise is low impact and can help build strength in the core muscles.

Bridge On Knees

Graphic image of Bridge On Knees.

Bridge On Knees is a great complementary exercise for Scissor Kicks. Bridge On Knees activates the glutes and core muscles, as well as the hip flexors, which are all important for stability during Scissor Kicks. Additionally, it is an excellent alternative exercise if the range of motion required for Scissor Kicks is too difficult or painful. With Bridge On Knees, you can work on the same muscles without having to extend the legs so far, making it a great exercise for those with lower body injuries or mobility issues.

Find More Legs Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

To further enhance the benefits of the scissor kick exercise, you can do other exercises that work the opposing muscle groups. This will help to increase your range of motion, stability, and strength. Here are some exercises you can do to complement the scissor kicks:

Bird Dog Plank

Graphic image of Bird Dog Plank.

Bird Dog Plank is a great way to complement the exercise Scissor Kicks. This exercise works the opposite muscle group, focusing on strengthening the core and back muscles. Bird Dog Plank requires you to get down onto all fours, extending one arm and the opposite leg. This helps to engage the core, arms and legs, providing balance and stability. As you maintain this position, your abdominals and back muscles will be working hard to keep you in the correct position. By alternating between Scissor Kicks and Bird Dog Plank, you can work both muscle groups to achieve a balanced workout.

45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension

Graphic image of 45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension.

The 45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension is a great exercise to complement Scissor Kicks. This exercise targets the same opposing muscle groups, but in a different way. With the 45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension, you twist your upper body from side to side as you extend your legs outwards, engaging your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. This helps to target the same opposing muscle groups as Scissor Kicks, but in a slightly different way. This exercise helps to improve core strength and stability, as well as flexibility in the hips and lower back. It also helps to strengthen the supporting muscles around the spine.

Cable Glute Kickbacks

Graphic image of Cable Glute Kickbacks.

Cable Glute Kickbacks are a great way to complement Scissor Kicks as they target the opposing muscle group. Cable Glute Kickbacks focus on the glutes and hamstrings, while Scissor Kicks target the hip flexors. Cable Glute Kickbacks involve standing and holding a cable in one hand, while kicking back your leg and contracting the glutes at the top of the motion. This exercise helps to strengthen and tone the glutes and hamstrings, while also improving balance and stability. By doing both exercises together, you will be able to target both opposing muscle groups and get a full body workout.

Scissor Kick Your Way to Stronger Abs!

Looking for an effective way to strengthen your core? Look no further than the scissor kick! This simple yet powerful exercise targets your abs, hips, and thighs, helping you to build the strong, functional core you need for a healthy, active life. Whether you’re a fitness newbie or a seasoned pro, the scissor kick is an awesome addition to any core-focused workout routine. So don’t wait – switch up your usual ab exercises and start scissor kicking today!

References: Wikipedia | | | Comprehensive List of Legs Bodyweight Exercises

Pin image for scissor kicks post. With an image of a woman performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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