Friday, November 30, 2012

Core strength, continued...

Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC photo
Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:
Examiner article
While at the gym and after ½ hour of cardio on the elliptical machine, I was on a weight machine lifting. My shaky arms were looking pretty rough as I pushed 50 pounds over my head. Normally, this isn’t too difficult but this day I wasn’t really on my game; it was impacting me more than usual.
As a response to push through the reps, I tightened my stomach and when I did this I noticed the shake in my arms disappeared.
I know you’re supposed to do this anyway but I hadn’t done it often (only last year when my personal trainer was yelling at me to do it).
What I’ve noticed after more than a month of a daily gym workout is that my stomach is feeling toner (inside). Yes, the outside is starting to take shape (the top has two abs defined) but there is still flab through the mid-section. I’m sure with a diet in place I’ll eventually tone everything but inside it is starting to feel tighter like the under muscles are taking shape. It is difficult to explain but the feeling is inspiring me to continue.
Since tightening my stomach made such a difference to my strength lifting, I’m engaging these muscles more during my workout now and I know it is helping me.
Are you working out? What seems to help you? Leave me a note.
Here are the exercises that recommends:
“Prone Bridge
In a face down position, balance on the tips of your toes and elbows while attempting to maintain a straight line from heels to head. This exercise focuses on both the anterior and posterior muscle groups of the trunk and pelvis.
Lateral Bridge
Start on your side and press up with your right arm. Form a bridge maintaining a straight line from your hand to your foot. Rest on your elbow to increase the difficulty. This exercise focuses on the abdominal obliques and transversus abdominus.

Supine Bridge
Lying on your back, raise your hips so that only your head, shoulders, and feet are touching the floor. The supine bridge focuses on the gluteal muscles. Stronger gluteals help maintain pelvic control.

Pelvic Thrusts
Lie on your back with your legs bent 90 degrees at the hip. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and towards the ceiling. Lower your hips to the floor and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Russian Twists
1. Start by sitting on the floor with hips and knees flexed to approximately 90 degree angles. 
2. Grasp a medicine ball or small dumbbell and swing it to the right and left as you keep the hips from rotating with the shoulders. 
3. The arms are not perpendicular to the torso, but instead, kept low, near the thighs, as the medicine ball is swung to each side.

Good Mornings
1) Stand with feet shoulder width apart with knees slightly bent (at 20).
2) Start position: Grasp bar with overhand grip shoulder width apart. Back should be straight in a neutral position.
3) Bending at the hips, lower bar to approximately knee height. Keep knees bent at 20 throughout movement.
4) Return to start position.
5) Remember to keep back straight - movement should occur at the hip. To facilitate this, shift glutes back as if ready to sit down. Knees should not move forward beyond the toes.

Dumbell Lunges with Crossover
1) Start position: Stand with feet hip width apart. Grasp DB's and hold out in front of body.
2) Step forward 2-3 feet forming a 90 bend at the front hip and knee. DO NOT allow front knee to extend past the big toe - may cause injury. As you are lunging swing dumbbells across body towards the hip.
3) Pushing off front foot, return to start position with legs and dumbbells.
4) Remember to keep head and back upright in a neutral position. Shoulders and hips should remain squared at all times. 
5) Watch for proper knee alignment - do not let front knee extend past big toe or deviate laterally or medially. Back knee should not come in contact with floor.
Other excellent core stability exercises include:
                  Lat Pull Downs
                  Leg Presses/Squats
                  Crunches and crunch variations
                  Regular lunges
                  Back extensions

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