Spring and summer are just around the corner and are often a good motivation for many of us to shed some of those winter layers and get into beach-body shape.
But beyond vanity and looking good, strengthening your core is also critical for optimal health.
If your core is strong, that strength radiates out to your extremities and you will be better able to stabilize and align your body, absorb and brace for any impact and move your body more efficiently and with better mechanics.
It’s important to mention that your core is not only your abs – but also includes your back and hips so to strengthen your core effectively you need to work the front, back and sides! Try to perform the following exercises 2-3 days per week.
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Lie on your stomach. Position your elbows under your shoulders. Contract your abdominal muscles and then slowly lift your body onto your toes and your elbows. Keep your back straight and shoulder blades pulled together. Remember to breathe. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Note: Feel free to start on knees and elbows and as you get stronger, slowly progress to your toes.
Lie on your back and lift your legs up, bent at the knee. Position your legs with a 90-degree angle at the knees and hips so your upper thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and brace your spine. Slowly extend both legs out extending towards the ceiling for entry level, 45 degrees for an intermediate level or closer to the floor for an advanced version. Keep your spine strong and stable and low back neutral. Repeat 8-15x
Lie on your side while propping yourself up on one elbow with elbow positioned right under your shoulder. Keep your body straight and aligned. Slowly lift your hips off the floor so that your body weight is now supported on your elbow and your knees (less advanced) or your toes (more advanced). Keep your abdominals contracted throughout the entire exercise and maintain good posture. Hold for 5 seconds and do this 8-15x on each side.
Alternate Arm and Leg Lifts:
Start by laying on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you. Keep your abdominals contracted inwards and your spine completely stabilized. Start the exercise by one arm and the opposite leg. You should attempt to really stretch the arm and the leg outwards while lifting upwards while maintaining the abdominal contraction and spine stabilization. Think more about reaching the arm and leg rather than lifting so high that you have to arch your back. Do this 8-10x each side.
Lay on your back with your legs bent and your feet positioned on the floor. With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting comfortably on your shoulder blades. Throughout the entire exercise, be sure to keep your hips square to the ceiling and your abdominals contracted. Slowly lift up and down 8-20x. As you develop strength in your legs, you can do this exercise on just one leg – just be sure not to tilt to one side while doing these 1-leg lifts. Or try with your legs on a stability ball.
Yours in health & fitness,
Join us for the….
COUVE CLOVER RUN – 3, 7 & 10 MILES – March, 26th 2017 RUN, GIVE BACK & PARTY AT MAIN EVENT AND OTHER DOWNTOWN PUBS! We will make you earn your post-event party by running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles, but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.