Friday, July 19, 2013

Work your Core (and Whole Body) with the Ballerina Bow!

This week I am writing with an injured pinkie finger.  The reason I mention this is not that I’m hurt, but because of how I got hurt.  As you know, I recently had a beautiful little girl (2 months ago) and I just started teaching again and doing my cardio kickboxing classes, all of which are going great.  I started back to my martial arts training this week, which also went great, until we started goofing around.  You see, I didn’t get hurt punching or kicking the heavy bag, nor did I get hurt practicing defensive maneuvers and takedowns with my fellow instructors, no, instead I jammed all the joints in my pinkie finger while goofing around. 

I mention this because we often hear “oh, I’m too old for that” when asked if they want to try martial arts or cardio kickboxing.  I think the fear of getting hurt is perpetuated by all the MMA out there and (to be honest) poor instructing.  Our students are more likely to get hurt out riding their bike, walking in their yard, shoveling the show, etc. then in our dojo.  When working out, it is important to find a place that is safe and fun, a place that will teach proper technique, make sure you are actually doing it, and then teach you how to modify as needed.  If you go to a place like this, like ours, you can do marital arts or cardio kickboxing at any age.

It’s core work this week!  So get ready for the:
Ballerina Bow

Note: If you tend to have lower back pain, try substituting this move out for the standard floor crunches.
Begin standing.  Pull your belly in to support your lower back, open and lift your chest, and relax your shoulders.  Maintaining this position, raise your arms up over head, making sure to keep them straight and extending out through your fingertips (this activates all of your arm muscles).  This is your starting position.  To do the Ballerina Bow, simply bring your right leg up as you simultaneously bring your arms down in front of you; think of high-fiving your shin.  Then return to your starting position and repeat on the other side.  That’s it!  You are doing the Ballerina Bow.  Remember to fully extend your lifting leg to activate your leg muscles; the higher you lift your leg, the more you will work your lower abdominal muscles. 
The best part about this exercise is that it will work your entire body.  After just a few of these you should start to feel your shoulders, core, and quads beginning to burn; this is a good thing!  Go for 3 1-minute rounds, making sure to keep the tempo up in order to get your heart rate up. 

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