4 EASY STEPS TO BOOST YOUR CORE 1. Engage your transverse abdominis
The transverse abdominis is a deep muscle that wraps around the lower section of your abdomen, much like a belt. The ability to actively engage this muscle helps to put your spine into better alignment. Begin to work this muscle, by lying on your back with your hands on your lower abdomen. Focus on relaxing all other muscles, except for drawing your lower abdominals in towards your belly button. Hold these contractions gently, but firmly for 10 seconds, then repeat 10 times. Once you get the hang of contracting your transverse abdominis lying down, begin to contract it in sitting, then standing. This is a great exercise to do any time of day. This exercise is a must for any mom, as the abdominals become stretched out during pregnancy. 2. Strengthen your hip abductors The hip abductors are on the outside of your hips and consist mainly of your gluteus medius and minimus. These muscles are easy to exercise standing up. Simply hold onto a firm surface and lift your leg out to the side for 10-15 repetitions. Feel the muscles working on the outside of the hip. Do at least 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions each side. 3. Mini-squats with squeezes When you do dynamic exercises you are able to work a wide variety of muscle groups together. Put a ball, such as a soccer or volleyball between your knees. If you don’t have a ball, place a rolled up pillow. Gently squeeze the ball between your knees and practice the tightening of your transverse abdominis as described above. Now, holding onto a steady surface, squat down slightly and try to feel your thighs, stomach and back working together to lower you down and push you up. Start out with 2 sets of 10 reps, then work your way up over a week to 3 sets of 15.
4. Alternate arms and legs If you have back pain, consult your physical therapist before trying this. Perform this exercise by lifting your right leg up slightly, then your left arm. You will feel this contracting the muscles in your spine. Now gently lower and repeat on the other side. Try 10 repetitions, then over the course of a week, work your way up to 2 sets of 15 repetitions. Remember not to go into any pain with this exercise and you only need to raise your arm and leg up 2-3 inches off the floor. www.willowpt.com
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