Saturday, February 25, 2012

Beginner Core Exercises

All the movement in your body originates from your core, so building it's strength is a vital key to getting stronger, not to mention improving your balance and stability. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. When you run, walk, ride a bike, or skip across a room — your core muscles are hard at work, keeping you upright, stabilizing your body as your weight shifts, and absorbing impact from ground forces.

The best part about adding a core regimen to your workout? It's less than 5 minutes! Start small and add extra moves when you build strength.

It is recommended to do your core exercises at least three times a week. If you work your core muscles to fatigue during an exercise session, wait at least a day between workouts to allow the muscles to recover.

Here are some great beginner core exercises:

The Basic Elbow Plank:

Start by holding this position for 30 seconds. Don't forget to breathe! I did this almost every night for a week and then added 15 seconds each week afterward.

Once you feel comfortable holding this plank for 60 seconds, you can slowly begin adding leg and arm movements.

Plank With Diagonal Arm Reach:

Level: Difficult
•Start in an elbow plank, then walk your legs apart until they are a bit wider than your hips.
•Keeping torso stable, lift your right arm up and slightly out on the diagonal. Hold this position for two seconds, then return to elbow plank.
•Repeat with the left arm. This completes one rep.
•Do two sets of six reps.

Plank Leg Lift:

Level: Moderate
•Start in an elbow plank
•From that position, brace your core and lift one foot off the floor
•You can hold that position for the entire set – 60 to 90 seconds – and then do the second set with the other leg raised, or switch legs halfway through each set

The Superman:

Level: Intermediate
•Lie on your stomach. Stretch both your arms out in front of you. Make sure both your legs are straight behind you.
•Lift your head, chest, arms and legs off the ground.
•Hold this position for 3 – 5 seconds. Now go back to the starting position.
•Repeat 10 times.

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