Tis the season to start fresh, prepare new fitness rituals and rid ourselves of the over-spilling muffin top you grew over the Holidays!
The simple, subtle, sculpting exercise I’ve whipped up for you today, concentrates on the ENTIRE abdominal wall. I could easily sit here and type out all the muscle attachments that develop our core, but that probably wouldn’t mean anything to you. What I can tell you is that most ab workouts focus mainly on the front of the abdomen, using crunches that end up straining the rest of the body. This exercise works the front, back and sides of the spine, which is where you will find your core engagement.
Slinky Step One
Sit on your knees and feel free to place a slight padding under them…nothing too high that will make your knees level with your hips. Extend your arms out in front of you, level with the shoulders. From here, inhale and scoop your tailbone under “slightly” while drawing your navel back towards your spine (you’ll feel your pelvis engage and tuck under too). On the exhale lift your hips off your heals and thrust the hips forward while releasing the arms down along your side. Repeat slow, steady movements while feeling the engagement of your belly, back, bottom and tops of thighs.
Slinky Step Two
After 10 reps, hold on the exhale, keeping the hips stacked over the knees (as if you are standing on your knees) Keep the arms outstretched in front of you, pelvis and tailbone tucked under as if locked into position and now slant the upper body back as far as your body allows while keeping this engagement with the abs… nice and steady, back and forth. After 10 reps, hold the slant at a halfway point and lift one hip up at a time, side to side, as if you were trying to shorten one side, then the other, working the obliques or sides of the abdominal wall. Repeat 10 reps here on each side.
Slinky Step Three
Now for the good part!… take your hands to the floor behind you, turning your fingers to face forward and arc the front of the belly up towards the sky into a little backbend. If you are a beginner, you can stay here and enjoy the stretch on the front body. IF your knees and back allow you to go deeper, take your arms down to the forearms with the fingers still facing forward. There will only be a subtle arc in the back here, but your main goal is to lengthen the front body. Those of you who are super flexy can splay the feet a little wider than the hips and enjoy bringing your back fully down on the floor with arms extended overhead into a full stretch. This awesomely strong stretch lengthens both the stomach and spleen meridians that run along the front of the body and aid in healthy digestion! Hold for approximately 10 deep breathes or however long it feels good.
Happy sculpting and stretching!
About the Author: Marianne Impal founder of RaeCole, LLC., a company named and inspired by her two daughters began her company while on the quest to raise confident girls in a media frenzied world. As a certified Yoga Instructor specializing in Pre-Teen and Teen workshops, Marianne knew that with practice, anything is possible. She developed a gift concept, which gives girls tangible, lifetime tools that promote Positive Self-Esteem with every use, and coupled it with her exclusive Y.E.S. (Youth Empowerment 4 Self-esteem) Workshops for Kids & Teens. read more →
We all have a little black dress in the closet, some of us may wear it more than others. If your dress as been feeling a little too little try these moves to help get you that sexy body fast.
1. Curtsy squat with a shoulder raise (full body exercise, remember to keep your core tight and suck your belly button into your spine) 20 reps each side
2. Plank pose with leg raise( do 10 leg raises each side)
Hold the plank position and slowly lift and lower your leg, keeping your toes flexed to engage the glute.
3. Sumo squats with a shoulder press – go for 20, do a squat with dumbells resting by your shoulders, when you extend your squat do a shoulder press.
About the Author: Fitness guru and mother of 3! Lana helps busy moms find the time and motivation to make exercise a part of their everyday lives without sacrificing family time. read more →
When talking about the muscles that make up the core we have to start with the abs. Not the ones you were thinking though. We need to think of the TVA or transversus abdominis and not the rectus adbominis.
The TVA attaches to the hip and acts as a stabilizer for the spine during heavy lifts such as the squat. The TVA can be thought of as our natural weight belt. It also can be thought of as a corset because it draws in a protruding abdomen.
Exercises to help strengthen the TVA include planks, side planks and push ups. During each the exercises the TVA contracts to keep the spine straight in what we call neutral spine. These exercises can be done everyday before a workout or just by themselves.
About the Author: Having been in the fitness industry for over ten years Damien is considered an expert in his field. He has worked with clients from all levels and ages ranging from children to celebrities to professional athletes. Damien has an undying passion for fitness, a thirst for knowledge and always wanting to be challenged which he then passes along to everyone he encounters. He has appeared in newspapers and local radio speaking about the importance of health and fitness. As a leader and motivational speaker Damien is an ambassador to the health and fitness community. read more →
Practicing yoga promotes a healthy body…inside and out. Yoga supports the body’s natural detoxification process—eliminating the body of wastes and toxins. Twists, are a category of asanas that assist this process exceptionally well.
Learn the benefits of including the detoxifying spine twist in your yoga practice and the proper technique to perform this yoga pose effectively and safely.
I Got Your Back!
The multifidus, a key member of the Inner Unit which usually protects a spinal joint, doesn’t activate properly when injured and quickly atrophies—as much as 25% in 24 hours—with the dysfunction continuing even after the symptoms of pain have disappeared. This occurs because, unlike many other muscles with polysegmental innervation, the multifidus has unisegmental innervation (it has no back up nerve to feed it in case of injury). If it shuts down, the part of the spine which it stabilizes is at the mercy of every impact force transmitted through the body.
So the key is to turn the multifidus back on. It’s not quite as easy as contracting a bicep, but the following exercise can help. By creating a diagonal shear force through the spine which the body perceives as threatening (and, indeed, it is under the right circumstances), the neuromuscular system overrides any neurological inhibition which has been caused either through pain or disuse.
Horse Stance Vertical Exercise
On hands and knees, lift one hand up just enough to slip a piece of paper underneath it. Do the same thing for the opposite knee.
Hold for 5-10s while minimizing any lateral deviations or change in spinal curvatures (basically stay still).
Switch and repeat for 5-10 reps each side.
At the same time, activating the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles one uses to stop the flow of urine) along with the TVA will help turn on the multifidus as they are all on the same neurological loop. Therefore, turning one muscle on helps to activate the other muscles.
Every day is a new opportunity to get active. What have you done today to prepare for swimsuit season?
The Yoga “Boat Pose” is a strong ab builder. Our guest blogger, who will walk us through this pose is Jane Ribinskas who is giving away a training package in our Swimsuit Ready Challenge.
Follow along with Jane who tells and shows us how to do this sequence:
Great Abs Sequence in Sanskrit “Navasana” or The Boat Pose
1. Start with the legs crossed and palms a little bit in front shoulder width apart on the mat. Exhale through the nose draw the navel towards the spine engage the pelvic floor then with the inhalation lift the body off the mat (That may or may not happen depending on hip tightness and strength). Once you land back down with the exhalation(or you may remain on the mat) lean back a little lifting your knees so the touch together making sure your spine is straight and you’ll be on the flat part of your sitting bones and your shins will be in a right angle to your knees with your toes pointed. Also lift up through your chest and work your pelvic floor as well as drawing the navel to the spine. The arms will run parallel along the body in line with the knees and draw the shoulders back. Keep the breath even in and out of the nose connecting back to the core.
2. To take this to a more advanced level straighten the legs and point the toes you’ll be in a V shape. Next take the arms up wards and out to a v shape above the shoulders. If you lose the V shape in your body come back to the first position. Repeat by bringing the legs back to a crossed position to the starting position push up through the palms as you exhale through the nose drawing the navel to the spine push the sitting bones and hips off the mat on landing…lean back and follow the original instructions with either bent knees or straight legs this can be repeated 10x times.
This will be a fun way to cultivate “bikini body” abs. Love and blessings to you and remember most of all to love and accept your bikini body no matter where it is at on your journey!
Swimsuit Ready Challenge
This exercise is part of our Swimsuit Ready Challenge (April 2-30, 2012). Do this exercise and comment below “I did this!” to be entered to win our $100 and $50 giveaways. You may enter up to one time per day through April 30th.
Also – be sure to share this on Facebook, Pinterest and other sites to let your friends cheer you on or – better yet – join in on the challenge so they can hang out on the beach with you this summer! read more →
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