You cannot escape the importance of core strength. Core, the inclusive name for the 4 layers of abdominals and hip stabilizing muscles, is responsible for protecting your spine and preventing injury throughout the body.
This is the first of many abdominal exericise series, so we are only getting started!
Laying on your back, draw your belly button down as if pulling it under your rib cage. Bring one leg at a time up and out into a 45 degree angle. If this feels like a strain in the low back, bend your knees to 90 degrees. During the exercise,do not allow the low back to pull away from the ground, however do not smash it into the floor. Maintain it still in it’s natural curvature. Gently pressing elongated arms up and down, Inhale and count to 5, then exhale counting to 5. Repeat this 10 times consecutively for a complete 100 repetitions.
Single Leg Stretch
Maintaining your spine position as described above, draw bellybutton in, tuck your chin slightly towards your chest, and bring your hands up to one bent knee, elongating the other leg. Exhale and switch to the otherside, bending the straight knee, and straightening the bent knee. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Double Knee Stretch
Begin with spine positioned as above, and belly button drawn in. Bring one knee at a time up and into a 90 degree angle, referred to as “table top”. Inhale, and tuck your chin in, lifting it off the floor, and bring your hands to your knees. Exhale and draw arms straight above ears and legs straight out in front of you. Inhale bringing legs back in to table top. Repeat 10 times.
Start in table top position again, with spine positioned as described above and belly button pulled in. Rotate your trunk bringing your Right elbow to your Left knee. Exhale and switch, bringing your Left elbow to your Right knee. Repeat 10 times.
Start in table top again, with spine positioned as above, and belly button pulled in. Draw one straight leg up with your hands, and elongate the other straight. Inhale and switch leg. If your hamstrings are tight, maintaining a straight leg will be difficult, and it is absolutely fine to bend your knees. Also if you are unable to maintain proper spine position with the leg extended, bring it up to about 45 degrees as opposed to parallel with the floor as pictured above. Repeat 10 times.
Starting on your hands and knees, press legs out straight behind you, maintaining your head, hips, and knees in a straight line. Hold 30 seconds.
Other options include plank on elbows with legs straight, or on knees and elbows.
This is a lovely start to abdominal strength, and there will be many more planks to come!
Make your day (strong) and great!