What’s better than starting the year off right with a strong core to stay strong and injury free? Nothing!
We realize that throughout the year it’s easy to get caught up focusing on aerobic activities like running, biking, dancing, etc., and accidentally neglect our core muscles (especially for those of us who don’t necessarily like strength training.) These core muscles are our most important, since we use them every day. When it comes to daily activities like lifting and cleaning, we really should be engaging our abdominals regularly. Having a strong core ensures having great posture, as well as protecting your back muscles and spine.
For those of you who hate stomach crunches, you’ll be happy to know that doing more than just crunches ensures you have a well-balanced and strong mid-section, so try incorporating some new moves into your routine.
The Plank- Lie on your stomach and lift yourself by placing your forearms flat, hands clasped, and your elbows right underneath your shoulders. Then lift your hips and knees off the ground, and try to hold your body as still as possible without dropping your hips. Your butt should be in alignment with the rest of your body, not higher or lower. Hold for 30 seconds and build up to 3 minutes. For an added challenge add a foam roller under your shins to create more work to balance yourself. The plank is one of Tammy’s staple core exercises since she’s been limited with her abdominal exercises ever since she had her twins and injured her abdomen.
The Side Plank- Lie on one side with your neck and head aligned with your spine. Hold yourself up with your elbow right underneath your shoulder and forearm pointing in front of you. Bring your hips in line with your spine. You may want to stagger your feet for a more comfortable position. Hold this position at first for 30 seconds and build up to 3 minutes at a time. If you do this right, you should feel it burning in the “love handle” area.
Leg Raises- Start by lying on your back, making sure it stays flat on the floor, while you lift your straight legs toward your core. For some, it may feel more comfortable to place your hands underneath your butt to take any pressure off your lower back. Engage your abdominals by pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Be sure to lower your legs down slowly, in a controlled way to complete one rep. Start with a set of ten lifts and build up to 3 sets.
Building strong abs now will ensure a long, active future. Begin 2012, by taking care of your core first and do it right from the beginning if you are starting up an exercise regime!
What new exercise routines are you planning to start this year?