The abdominals usually come to mind almost immediately when someone thinks about getting more fit and trim and healthy. That’s good – because the abs are key to good posture and fitness.
Let’s consider two simple exercises that can help you strengthen your abs.
The first is to maintain good POSTURE in everything you do. Work on getting and keeping your body upright and aligned in perfect posture. Keeping your abs tight and maintaining a good pelvic tilt not only helps you look better (in your little black dress, for example!), it also helps you feel better. Your spine is happier, your internal organs will function better – everything works better and more efficiently when your body is properly aligned. Just checking your “zipper” throughout the day and tightening your abs is a little workout you can do anywhere.
Another basic ab exercise is one version of the TORSO CURL. For this one, you lay down on your back, and I hope you did review all the elements of good posture, because you’ll need to first get in perfect alignment before you begin. Shoulders straight, head on straight, pelvic tilt with zipper zipped and dime pinched.
Your calves should be elevated, on a 55 centimeter fitness ball or on a couch or chair of the right height to keep your calves and shins parallel to the floor. You can also do this exercise with your feet on the floor if you don’t have a ball or suitable piece of furniture.
Keep the ball close to your butt, and keep your knees bent. Your legs and feet should be relaxed during this exercise. You want to use your abs to lift and not push up from your legs.
Place your hands behind your head. Some find it best to spread their fingers, keeping their index and middle fingers on the neck, and the ring and pinky fingers on the back of the skull. If you’ve had a shoulder injury, and this is not comfortable, using a small towel to support the head and neck would be better.
Leading from the chest, raise your torso up until you feel the center spot just between the hip bones, in the lower ab/pelvic area. Slowly go back down, stabilizing as you go. This is most important, as people tend to focus on getting up and then just flop back down – which definitely reduces the benefit of the exercise. Repeat. Repeat, several times. Rest a moment, then repeat. When you can, try to keep your upper back and shoulders from going all the way down, increasing the workout for your abs.
Do as many as you can, as long as you can maintain your alignment. Don’t worry if you can’t raise up as high as you think you should be able to, because your range of motion will improve as you grow stronger. The important thing is that you are gaining control of your movement, starting where you are right now.
Add these to the INNER THIGH SQUEEZE from my recent ME and Fitness Equipment blog, and you’ll have a few exercises you can do almost anywhere, to keep you moving forward towards your fitness goals. And of course, focusing on good posture in everything you do will help you be Motion Empowered all day long!
Hope to see you soon.