Strengthen your mid-section!

I love working my mid-section by focusing on the front and back.  Many times we think we need to just work out abs and define them into a six-pack, but that is all wrong! 

So much of our strength comes from the back and booty, and by spending a little time strengthening those core muscles may prevent injury in the future.

Many people struggle with back or lower back pain and these moves will help strengthen the entire mid-section!

These are 5 simple moves test your balance in a variety of ways.

Form is the most important

First, do these moves in a controlled manner, don’t rush the exercise! 

Secondly, modify the move to your ability because we do not want to cause any injury or little kinks that may come later.

Make this workout work for you

To keep things super simple, I like to do each move 10 times, that includes repeating the exercise on the other side, too. 

1. Kneeling Step-Ups: This move may be a bit tricky because you are testing your balance.  Start by going into a forward lunge and gently come all the way down to the ground with knee down. Lift the other foot off the ground an inch or two. Come to a standing position and lift the other knee up, if possible.  You can delete the knee up if needed.  Do each side for 10 repetitions for a total of 20 repetitions. 

2. Standing Side Crunches: Bear most of your weight on one leg with the knee slightly bent.  With opposite arm up, crunch your side with elbow and knee coming together.  Option B: Make the move smaller, don’t worry about touching the elbow and knee. 

3. Back Extensions/Pull Downs: I love this one and it doesn’t look like you are doing much, but you will feel it in your lower back. Use a small towel and hold each side, lay on your stomach and keep your toes locked to the ground (don’t lift them up). Put your arms straight out and lift up, then pull the towel towards your face and repeat.  It is like a lat pull when you are slightly lifted. 

4. Sit-Ups: Good ole’ sit-ups, whatever you like!  I enjoy doing a mini V-Up with my legs slightly lifted and I come up in the crunch and touch my shins.  Option B: Lift your knees in a tabletop position (90 degrees) and lift your head and shoulders off the ground.  Make sure your shoulder blades are coming off the ground and that is the most important part.

5. Bird Dog: In all four position (knees on ground with hands right underneath the shoulders, gently lift opposite arm and leg out. This move makes you think and which limb to lift, ha!  Alternate each side. Again, slow and controlled wins the race, I mean makes each move very effective! 

What if I am unable to do some of the moves?

Most importantly, try your best and do the moves to the best of your ability. 

Kneeling Step-Ups:  If you are unable to lift your foot 1 to 2 inches off the ground, no worries, skip that part.  If you are unable to bring your knee up and balance on the opposite leg, no worries, skip that part and bring the leg to standing position. 

Standing Side Crunch:  For stable balance, grab onto a chair for better mobility.  If you are not able to bring your knee to your elbow, bring them together a tiny bit and call it good. 

Back Extension/Pull Downs: If you are only able to lift to your arms up, that is great, no need to do the pull down.

Sit-Ups: If you are not able to do a full sit-up, just do a crunch and make sure your shoulder blades are lifted off the ground. 

Bird/Dog: If you are unable to lift and extend your arms and legs, start by just lifted the opposite arm and leg, keep your hips parallel to the ground.  Start small and gradually build up the strength. 

How many times should I do this workout?

First off, whatever you can fit into your schedule is great! 

This workout only takes about 8-10 minutes and would be great option to do after a walk or cardio. 

If you can fit this workout into your weekly routine 1 to 2 times, that would be awesome start!  

Strength training the core is so important because it affects all parts of the body.  It is when we are hurt, we forget how much our core does for us.