Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Core Strength with Centered Push-Ups

Happy April!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday week with friends and family, enjoying the beautiful weather!  My family and I actually spent the weekend home and healthy, something that hasn’t happened in over a month; it was wonderful!  I think each day we went for at least 3 walks outside, listening to all the birds chirping, looking at the buds and leaves coming out on all the trees, and enjoying the time together.  As I’m sure all of you can tell by now, I love Spring.  It is such a beautiful and wonderful time of growth and renewal…it always fills me with a sense of joy, new beginnings, and opportunity.

This week we are going to focus on our core muscles with a simple, modified Push-Up (“Plank”) position. The exercise is really quite simple in it’s movement, and yet it will work your entire body.  This is a toning exercise, not a cardio exercise, so make sure you add in some fast paced movements from prior weeks as well.

Centered Push-Up
NOTE:  You will want to use a weighted ball or balance ball for this exercise

Begin on the ground with your hands resting on the ball.  Bring your shoulders over your hands keeping your elbows bent slightly, chest open, and head up.  Pull your belly in toward your spine to support your lower back and step back into a push-up position (you can also do this on your knees).  Tuck your glutes under, strengthen your thighs, and extend through your heels; this will keep all of the muscles in your body activated.  Being on the ball instead of on the ground will really challenge your core, stabilizing muscles; make sure you keep centering into your belly and pulling your core in.  NOTE: If you are on your toes and your lower back begins to hurt (or if it starts to dip down toward the ground), you need to drop down to your knees!  Hold for 1 minute and then do a cardiovascular exercise; repeat for 2-3 more rounds.

Want an extra arm challenge?  Maintain the same position as above but alternate between adding in push-ups on the ball and simply bending your arms and holding.

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