What is scissors exercise? Variations, benefits, and tips

If you’re particular about your abdominal muscles, chances are you’ve done the scissors exercise before. If you haven’t, you’re in luck because this post will show you how effective this exercise routine could be for your ab goals.

In this post, you will learn how to do the scissors exercise, variations you can try, and exactly how to perform the exercise. Ready? Let’s get into this.

What is the scissors exercise? 

The scissors exercise, which is also sometimes referred to as the flutter kicks, is a core and abdominal workout that strengthens the transverse abdominals, helps flatten the stomach, and provides strength to the entire core. 

scissors exercise

It entails lying on the back, lifting both legs one after another off the floor, and moving one over the other without letting the legs fall to the floor. 

The scissors exercise does not only enhance core strength; it also strengthens the hamstring and the lower back. This exercise makes it possible for athletes and bodybuilders to work the core for strong belly muscles, flatten the belly and improve basic flexibility around the waist and hamstring—all in one move. 

The scissors workout also helps the athlete to stabilize the midsection while moving everything else. The exercise enhances movement from the legs while focusing on the body’s midsection and providing strength and stability to the abdominal muscles. 

How to perform the scissors exercise

The scissors exercise should be performed slowly for optimal results and to eliminate the risk of injuring the lower back. 

For the exercise to be fully effective, athletes and bodybuilders should ensure that the abdominal muscles are engaged, not the back.

Here are the steps in performing the scissors exercise: 

  • Get a suitable mat for this workout, preferably a thick but firm mat. 
  • Lie down on your back with your arms to your side (or under your glutes to aid balance).
  • Keep your legs extended straight into the air above the hips. 
  • Press your lower back into the mat so that your abs are tight. You should maintain this position for the whole exercise. 
  • Lower your right leg a few inches from the mat and move your left leg slightly higher. 
  • As you raise the right leg, simultaneously begin to lower the left leg. Continue to interchange between the right and left legs for the desired number of reps. 
  • Note that when you bring your legs down, they should not touch the ground and should remain parallel to the ground and on a straight line. 
  • The scissors exercise should constitute part of a core workout and can be done 3 – 4 days a week. 

Variations of the scissors exercise

Ascending cross scissors kicks 

  • This variation begins with lying flat on the back, hands by the side, and legs raised and parallel to the ground. 
  • Slowly flutter the legs in opposite directions to each other. 
  • Raise the flutter kicks upwards at every five seconds count. 
  • Perform the desired amount of reps. 

Scissors walks 

  • Start by laying flat on the mat and lifting your legs straight up to the ceiling. 
  • You should place the right foot heel above the left foot’s instep as assumed in the measurement position. 
  • Now, cross the legs by moving the thighs back and forth while keeping the legs as straight as possible and switching between the feet. 
  • Keep off the shoulders the ground, and the core hardened to ensure effectiveness. 
  • Perform the desired amount of reps. 

The bicycle crunches

Although slightly different, you can modify the scissors exercise into the bicycle crunches. 

  • Start by laying flat on the back with the legs straight and the head and shoulder slightly raised off the mat. 
  • The two hands should be placed behind the head, but do not interlock the fingers. 
  • Bring the rib cage down, relax the back and engage your core.
  • Raise your knees towards your chest until the shins are parallel to the ground.
  • Move the right elbow towards your left knee while making sure the core remains engaged.
  • Next, you rotate the left part of the upper body to move the left elbow towards the right knee while bringing the right side of the body and the left legs down to the ground. 
  • Alternate and repeat for desired amounts of reps. 

Tips for performing effective scissors exercise

To ensure that the scissors exercise is very effective and that you obtain maximal gains from the scissors exercise, use the following tips:

  • The arms should be at rest and immobile at the side of the body all through the exercise as it helps stabilize the body. Do not use your hands for momentum. 
  • The core should be kept engaged and tight for the entirety of the exercise. This ensures that all efforts are concentrated on the abdominal muscles. 
  • Perform the exercise slowly with steady control and rhythm instead of fast and haphazard. Endurance and patience are vital to this exercise. 
  • Athletes and bodybuilders should warm up before performing the scissors exercise to enable the belly muscles to kick into a higher gear once the scissors workout begins. 
  • The scissors exercise is best performed within an overall fitness program to boost its effectiveness. 

Benefits of the scissors exercise

The scissors exercise has an array of benefits, they are: 

  • The scissors exercise works the core muscles, ensuring stronger and healthier abdominal muscles, spine, and abductors.
  • The scissors exercise improves the posture of athletes and bodybuilders. 
  • It enhances well-defined abdominal muscles. 
  • It provides ease when engaging in other physical or sporting activities like swinging a golf club, picking up an item, or tying your shoes. 
  • It enables athletes and bodybuilders to meet fitness goals as a solid core is essential for physical exercises. 


The scissors exercise requires enormous strength and endurance, but in the long run, it pays off, and the reward is as massive as the pain initially felt. 

Now that you know about the scissors exercise, how to perform the exercise, and its benefits, you can always do it for a stronger core and general well-being. 

Jude Uchella

Jude Uchella is a passionate research writer whose work has been published on many reputable platforms, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and more! He prioritizes research, writes comprehensively, and only shares factual and helpful content. He is a reader’s delight!

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