Core Strength

Tips

  • Lay your head heavy in your hands, with thumbs behind your ears. Do not lace your fingers.
  • Look at a spot on the ceiling just slightly past your head. This creates a space between your chin and chest, taking some pressure off your neck.
  • Keep belly button tucked towards your spine, contracting the transverse abdominal muscles and protecting the spine.
  • Keep breathing!! It’s best to breathe out during the upward movement.

Warm-up (Standing)

  • Contract abdominals and hold for 4 seconds, then release; repeat 4 times (Don’t hold your breath—just breathe naturally!).
  • Balance while holding your right foot in front of you off the floor. Repeat using left foot.
  • Balance while holding your right knee at a 90° angle off the floor in front of you. Repeat using the left knee.
  • Balance while holding your right knee at a 90° angle. Now extend your right leg back behind you and bring the trunk forward. Repeat using the left knee.

Exercises (Lying on your back)

  • Belly into Spine
    • Contract your lower abdominals as if you were taking your belly button towards your spine. Hold and release.
  • Basic Crunch
    • Feet on the mat, knees bent, lift the shoulder blades off the floor, and slowly lower to starting position.
  • Extend legs further from body, heels still on ground, basic crunch movement
    • Should feel this exercise lower in the abdominals.
  • Side Crunch
    • Lay knees over to one side, torso facing the ceiling. Perform crunch, shoulder blades off the floor towards the ceiling. Switch sides.
  • Elbow to Knee, Oblique Crunch
    • Left ankle crossed on right knee, lift right elbow towards left knee, lifting the shoulder blade off the mat. Switch sides.
  • Knee Rock
    • Keeping the knees at a 90° angle, twist toes side to side, keeping your hips on the ground.
  • Modified Leg Raise, walking out in 3 counts
    • 3 phases of intensity: One foot kept on the mat, one leg at 90° angle, or one leg held straight up.
    • Tap one foot out in 3 counts, keeping the other leg in one of the above positions.
  • Stomp the ceilings
    • With both legs raised towards the ceiling, slightly lift the hips off the floor by contracting your lower abdominals. This is a small movement—you may not even lift the hips off the mat. Do not swing your legs for momentum.
  • Bicycles
    • Use lower body only, or lift head and shoulders off mat and hold.
    • Cycle legs in a bicycle motion—the larger the circles the more difficult the exercise becomes.
  • Russian twists
    • Sitting up with knees bent and back straight, lean back so that you can touch your knees with your hands. With your elbows tucked in at your side, twist to one side, center, opposite side, center and repeat.

Low Back (Lying on your abdomen)

  • Upper body
    • Keeping legs and hips on the mat, place your hands under your chin, face pointing towards your mat, lift upper body off the mat, and slowly lower back down.
  • Lower body
    • Keeping arms and legs on the mat lift your legs off the mat, contracting your back, hamstrings, and gluts, keeping your hips on the ground.
  • Opposite arm and leg
    • With your arms out in front of you, lift your right arm and left leg at the same time, then switch to left arm and right leg.
  • Pointer Dog
    • From kneeling position (all fours), lift opposite arm and leg, then switch.

Stretches

  • Abdominal
    • Lying on your back, stretch long, with your arms above your head.
  • Lower Back
    • Lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest and rock side to side.
    • Child’s pose—come onto your knees and fold over them with your arms out in front of you.
    • Cat stretch—on all fours, round out your back, then flatten, repeat.
  • Full Body Stretch
    • Lying on your back, take your left leg across your body; look over your left shoulder. Switch sides.

 

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