How many times have you bent down to pick up your child and felt a sharp pain in your back? Or, maybe your back feels o.k. while you’re doing the heavy lifting, but the next morning when you get out of bed, your body tells you that you did too much.
Even for people who exercise regularly, core strength is part of the workout that often gets neglected. Add these few simple moves to your routine to help strengthen your abs and lower back and prevent injury this year.
Abdominal Crunches- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head for support. Lift up just far enough so that your shoulder blades come off the ground, and press your navel towards the ground. Try to work up to 2 sets of 25 reps.
Bridge- Lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your feet and shoulders on the floor, lift your hips off of the mat. Hold 5 sec, squeezing your abdominal muscles.
Wood Chop/Reverse Wood Chop- Using both hands, hold the handle of a resistance band or a medicine ball near your right shoulder. Bring the weight across your body and down just below your left hip, rotating your hips to the left. Be sure to keep your chest and shoulders aligned with your hips as you rotate. You may bend your arms slightly, or straighten then to make the exercise more challenging. Repeat on the other side.
Quadruped or Bird Dog- Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders. Raise your right arm off the floor and reach ahead. At the same time, raise your left leg and straighten it out behind you, hold for 5 sec. Repeat with left arm and right leg.
Superman- Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched out overhead. Lift your right arm 3 inches off the mat, hold for 3 sec. Repeat with left arm, right leg and left leg.
Plank- Start in a push up position on an exercise mat, and drop down to balance on your forearms. Hover in this position for as long as you can, while keeping your shoulders, hips knees and ankles aligned.