15 Feb Improve Your Core
Having a toned midsection doesn’t come easily. If all you have is your body and the better part of 8 weeks to work out your core, then we have a list of 8 simple exercises to see you through.
- Plank Hold
Place your forearms on the floor in kneeling, near push-up position, so that your elbows lie right under your shoulders. With your toes curled, lift your knees off the floor. You should now be in a straight push-up stance. Keeping the abdominal and back muscles tight, you should hold this posture for over 20 seconds, and repeat 3 to 5 times as you breathe in and out, to strengthen your shoulders, back and abs.
- Quadruped Arm & Leg Extensions
Stay on all fours on the floor with your hands straight and your legs kneeling, so that they form 90 degrees with the torso. Keeping your back still, lift opposite arms and legs in succession, so that they’re level with the torso, or the legs are slightly lower. Repeat the set 10 times to improve back stability.
- Supine Bridges
As you lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, in line with your hips, and your toes facing forward, and our arms palms-down alongside the body, press through your heels to lift up the buttocks. Lift and lower at least 15 times for buttock strength and also to prevent back and leg injury. Cross one leg over the other at the ankles or lift one of the legs up for the sake of variety. Should you feel any back strain, bend one of the knees in toward the hip.
- Forward Lunges
Stand up with your feet apart and parallel, and take one large step to the front with your right leg about of your body length, with your knee bent to 90 degrees, toes pointing forward, and your right foot straight under your knee. Be sure to keep the left leg straight. Then go back into the initial position and repeat with the left leg, all the while keeping your spine straight. Repeat 10 to 15 times to strengthen the lower body muscles and to improve your balance, and try using a barbell or a dumbbell, or even lunging to the side.
- Dead Bug
As you lie on the floor bending your knees, lift your legs and your arms up, pointing toward the ceiling. Keep the back pressed to the floor, and lower opposite arm and leg as low as you can go. Then exhale and bring them back up. Do the same with the other side. Repeat 10 times to increase your abdominal strength.
- Side Bridge
As you lie on your side, propping your body up at the elbow, and bending your knees, push your body upward by pressing on the elbow and the lower leg. After holding the stance for at least 5 seconds, slowly lower the body back. Repeat 5 to 8 times, preferably holding the body up for 10 seconds for better back and lateral abdominal muscles.
- Bicycle Crossover
As you lie on your back keeping your knees bent and your palms under your head, lift the knees toward the abdomen bringing the feet off the floor, and hold; then strengthen one of the legs out to the front, and bring one elbow toward the opposing, bent knee. The back should never arch or roll to the side. Switch sides and repeat the set at least 20 times..
This classic exercise is demanding, and people with neck or shoulder problems should try it with their hands elevated on a bench. Sit up or lie on your back on the floor. Keeping your hands shoulders’ width apart and the fingers facing forward, with a straight back and a tight posture, slowly lower the chest forward towards the floor. As you push back to the initial position, exhale and keep the elbows straight. Repeat 15 times.