Spring has finally sprung, and that means that bathing suit season is just around the corner. By this time many of you are second guessing that 2nd piece of pie on Christmas Day. With warmer weather, we also tend to become more active (many of us for the first time since fall). Not only does the extra body fat look bad, it wreaks havoc on your spine and muscles making you more susceptible to an injury.
The extra body weight tends to pulls your body forward, changing the curves in your spine and position of your muscles. With this change in posture it puts your spine in a “loaded” position (think of a car that is not aligned properly) adding unnecessary wear and tear to your body. A strong core is important for more than just aesthetics, it is responsible for supporting our upright posture, and providing us with flexibility and stability. When discussing effective core strengthing techniques it is important to note that we want to activate the entire core (abs, oblique’s, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, and the diaphragm). Try these exercises below and enjoy stronger, more appealing core!
Perform this routine 3x/week, 3 sets of 10 repetitions per exercise.
1.) Diaphragmatic Breathing– Lying on your back, knees bent, place on hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen. Take a deep breathe in through your nose and focus on making the hand on you abdomen rise while limiting the rise in your chest (avoid chest breathing.)
2.) Pelvic Tilts- Begin lying on your back, knees bent. Place your hands under your lower back. Focus on pushing your back into your hands by contracting your abdomen, rocking your pelvis posteriorly.
3.) Planks- Begin face down, resting on elbows and toes (knees for beginners) maintain a level “neutral spine” by contracting your abdomen. Careful more to arch your back.
4.) Supine leg lifts- Lying on your back, legs straight, arms at side, slowly raise and lower legs careful not to allow your legs to touch the floor.
5.) Stability Ball Pull-In- Begin by lying on top of a stability ball, belly facing down. Slowly begin to walk your hands out until just your feet are on top of the stability ball. This will look like a push-up position with your legs resting on the ball. Slowly pull your feet toward your chest by contracting your abdomen.