It’s Ab day at the gym. Every muscle in your body is screaming for mercy and you are exhausted from working all day. You must find it within yourself to honor the commitment you’ve made even though you’d rather binge watch Netflix. As you grab your Healthy Hemp Energy boost here are a few moves to help you get the best from your core workout!
Expanding The Core
A real core workout focuses on training the muscles around the pelvis, lower back, hips and tummy. If you are still chasing the ever popular “6 pack abs” —that starts in the kitchen! So, say goodbye to crunches and hello to these killer core moves:
Plank and all its variations are one of the best core exercises because they engage all the major core muscle groups. This includes the transverse abdominus (your belly’s built-in girdle), the rectus abdominus ( the ever famous six pack), the external oblique muscle (they become our love handles when unused), and the glutes.
Try variations on plank such as side planks, low planks, push-up planks and don’t forget to play around with using the arms and legs making your planks even more challenging!
These can be done on an incline bench or flat on the floor. Bending the knees so the thighs are parallel to the floor (or incline bench) is safer for the lower back. Also consider adding a yoga block in between the knees for more stability and core activation.
You can anchor your hands on something heavy behind you like a kettle bell or a piece of workout equipment. Another option is to slide them under your lower back and pelvis or rest the arms next to you palms into the floor. Raise and lower the legs and pelvis SLOWLY towards your face and down. This is about control! Careful not to use the neck or the arms and hands too much or overarch your lower back. Focus on using the core muscles!
Start with your back to the floor and use the arms and legs like you were walking…except very, very slow. You want to control the movement and stabilize your trunk. Lock in your core while while the opposite leg and arm move. Try to keep your spine stable and neutral (no arching or over tucking of the lower back or neck). There are many variations you can do, including getting on all fours and doing this from a table top position.
There are many variations on the traditional butt toning squat. Bridge lifts offer a lower back friendly way to activate the butt and hamstrings. They can be done with or without resistance bands wrapped around the thighs and/or a block between the knees for even more muscle activation, variation and challenge. Otherwise, try standing squats, one legged squats and curtsey squats with or without weights for an even greater gluteal challenge.