The ankle biter (as Greg Plitt calls it) also known as alternating ankle taps is an excellent and easy to perform exercise that targets the abdominals and obliques.
I recommend performing this exercise as part of circuit or superset along with other abdominal exercises such as the ab roller and hanging leg raise.
Ankle Biters Form:
Begin on the floor with your knees bent as if you were about to perform a sit-up.
Crunch forward (maintaining your shoulders off the floor) and extend your arms straight by your sides.
Alternate crunching from the left to the right, touching your left ankle with your left extended hand and your right ankle with your right extended hand.
Touching your left ankle and your right ankle constitutes 1 repetition.
Ankle Biters Variations
Oblique Ab Roller
The oblique ab roller is similar to the regular ab roller, however instead of extending the ab roller directly infront of your in a straight line alternate between each side for your repetitions in order to increase engagement in the obliques.
Common Ankle Biters Mistakes
Performing Too Few Repetitions
The ankle biter exercise is best suited (in my opinion) to a circuit or superset as you're not going to get a lot of benefit performing the usual 10 repetitions as you do with the majority of other exercises.
When performing these ab to push yourself beyond the 40+ repetition range.
Moving Your Ankles
If you're moving your ankles to your arms you're not going to be working the abdominals or obliques at all for that matter! Ensure your feet are planted firmly on the ground for the duration of your set, it's only your arms that're moving as a result of the abdominal crunching motion.
Failing to Keep Your Shoulder Off The Ground
This is the #1 mistake I see being made when it comes to ankle biters, if you're laying flat on the ground and merely sliding from side to side you're not going to be engaging your core.
Your shoulders are to remain of the ground for the duration of your set while you crunch side to side, tapping your ankles.
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Russian Twists
- Ab Roller