To strengthen the trunk area providing a great stable base for the rest of your exercise routine and as you move around in your daily life. Stabilize your low back by tightening the pelvic floor and then use your abdominal muscles to curl up at the waist and lift the shoulders from the floor. Your arms can be held across your chest or you can slide your hands up your thighs as you move. Keep your head in line with your body as if you had an orange between your chin and your chest. This will help you to keep your shoulders relaxed and will prevent any of the tension in the neck area that others sometimes feel when performing this exercise.
Your pelvis and legs should not move while you lift the shoulders. Pause briefly at the top of the movement and then lower slowly without letting your head drop back to the floor. There should be no sharp movements or ‘bouncing’ during this exercise. The whole thing from start to finish should be controlled by your deep stomach muscles. Aim to breath out as you raise your shoulders making sure that you do not hold your breath at any stage. A strong abdominal area is crucial for all activities and particularly important for protecting the lower back. Exercising this muscle area will help to tone your midriff but remember you will also have to burn off any excess fat hiding your six-pack with your regular routine of CV exercise.
Well worth adding to your routine as it has been shown to be the exercise that works the most muscles of the abdominal area in one movement. Lie on the floor, face up with your head and neck relaxed and your arms by your sides. Cough gently to tighten up your stomach muscles and then maintain this tension in the stomach and remember to breathe naturally. Now, stabilizing from the stomach so that your back remains flat on the ground, lift one foot off the floor and then the other so that your thighs are perpendicular to the- ground. Now, using your lower abdominal muscles, slowly draw your knees in towards your chest as far as you can, aiming to raise your bottom and lower back a little way off the floor. Then return to the starting position without letting your knees travel too far away from your body.
If you feel your lower back arching up from the floor you have gone too far. You should always bring your knees back towards your chest before you begin to feel the exercise pulling on your lower back. Use this exercise as part of your overall stomach and low back workout to improve your core stability, balance and strength.
To work the whole of the abdominal area from deep down core stability muscles to the upper and lower sections of the more superficial ‘six-pack’ muscles. Lie on the floor face up with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Activate your deep stomach muscles by coughing and holding the tension and then carefully raise your feet, one at a time, off the ground so that you end up with both thighs perpendicular to the. floor. This is your starting and finishing position. Now, with slow movements, regular breathing and consistent core stability, gently raise your shoulders off the double crunch ground while at the same time bringing your knees towards your chest. Pause briefly at the top of the movement and then lower slowly without losing tension in your deep stomach muscles. This will ensure that your lower back is not compromised. Repeat, keeping the movements slow so that you are working the muscles hard all the way through the set.
An exercise to strengthen your core area and the sides of your stomach which are important for any sport that requires rotational movement such as tennis, netball, football, dancing and martial arts. Lie on the floor face up with your knees bent and feet flat and slightly apart. Breathe deeply to relax and then stabilize your low back by tightening your pelvic floor. Now use your abdominal muscles to curl up at the waist and lift the shoulders from the floor.
Your pelvis and legs should not move while you lift the shoulders. At the top of the movement twist your shoulders to one side, keeping your head in line then return them to the centre position and lower without letting them touch the floor. Repeat the movement but this time twist your shoulders to the opposite side. When you have completed 10 twists to each side take a rest and then repeat the set. Make sure that at all times during the exercise your lower back and feet are flat on the ground. If either lift off the floor then you need to slow down the movement and control it from your stomach.
Valerie is a fitness blogger who loves to write on health and fitness, recently she got her hands on a Diet Book by Walter Wood and found it very interesting to read.