Standing Overhead Circles

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Standing Overhead Circles Ab Exercise

Standing Overhead Circles (also known as ceiling circles or upper body circles) is a functinal full body standing abs exercise. It primarily mobilizes and strengthens all the muscles around the midsection. Such as abdominal wall and lower back. Legs, shoulders, chest, upper back activates as well as a secondary muscle groups.

It is a low impact ab exercise. Beginners can use it to develope a mind-muscle connection. Which will enable them to take a control over their core better and activate the abdominal muscles on a demand. On the other hand more experienced individuals can include this exercise in a warm up, stretching and cool down routines.

Either way if all the effort is put to comply the exercise with the maximum amplitude, it will challenge each and every one.

Strong abs and healthy lower back will improve the performance of different physical activities and protect from lower back injuries. Everyone requiring spinal mobility and strong core will benefit from this exercise. Standing Overhead Circles is suitable for everyone regardless of the level of fitness.



  • Low impact abs exercise.
  • No equipment needed. You can do it anytime, anywhere.
  • No stain or discomfort for the neck.
  • Improves core strength and spinal support.
  • Facilitates the execution of different physical tasks and activities.


Standing Overhead Circles Step 1

Stand tall with your feet about shoulder width apart or little bit wider. Slightly bend the knees. Place your arms straight over head and retract the scapula. Inhale, suck your belly in and embrace the abs.

Standing Overhead Circles Step 2

To begin the exercise start rotating your torso in a circle while keeping your lower body stationary. Move your upper body from the hips up only. Perform controlled and smooth movements. Slowly exhale as you circle.

Standing Overhead Circles Step 3

Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the whole exercise.

Standing Overhead Circles Step 4

If that helps, imagine you are drawing circles on the ceiling with your hands while your lower body is buried in the ground. Your arms and torso moves as a one unit. Draw as large circles as you physically can.

Standing Overhead Circles Step 5

Keep rotating until you reach a desired number of repetitions. Then switch the direction and repeat the same number of repetition to the other side. Alternatively you can switch the direction on each rep.


  • If it is hard to keep your hands against each other, interlock your fingers. Interlocking will take some shoulder, upper chest and upper back muscle activation away though.
  • If needed press inside of your arms against the ears. That will ensure your arms are standing still. You need to rotate with your torso not your arms.
  • To increase the difficulty try holding a dumbbell or any other weighed object in your hands. To decrease the difficulty, lower down your arms or rest them on your hips.
  • To challenge your balance more, put your feet closer.
  • Avoid hyper extending and excessively flexing your spine during the exercise. If you feel discomfort in your lower back, stop the exercise and consult your physician.


1. Standing Side Bends (low impact ab exercise for the obliques).
2. Quick Standing Oblique Twists (high intensity).
3. Standing Crunches (low impact ab exercise for Transverse Abdominis).
4. Prayer Squat Twists (engages more lower back and legs).
5. Bodyweight Wood Chop (intense, works more low back and shoulders).

About Matiss Bartulis

Sweets and pizza addict. Online and real-life fitness coach. Author of the "From Fat To Six Pack" E-mail training course. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.