Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Find the strength within: Build up your core muscles

Let's talk a little about the most talked about muscle group in our bodies: the abominable abdominals.

Many times, avid exercisers go into overtime attempting to crunch away that body fat over their abs, not knowing, or simply ignoring, the reality that there is no such thing as spot reducing. You need to become a friend of cardio to burn off those stored calories.

And they tend to neglect the other core muscles. The abdominal muscles should be just part of your game plan, as they are only a small part of the core. Instead of performing hundreds of crunches, you need to focus on the entire core, not just the abs, by exercising a variety of muscles from the hips to the shoulders.

Where are the muscles of the core? To simplify things, the core consists of major muscles that move, give support and stabilize the spine. Take away legs and arms and you pretty much have the core.

What do core muscles do? The core muscles are involved in every movement you do. They work together to protect the spine and the surrounding muscles from injures during movement, stabilizing our bodies so we can maintain our balance. Because a strong core develops good posture, it also helps to alleviate back pain.

Standing core exercises: Try adding standing core exercises to your repertoire. These compound exercises target multiple muscles, and because you are standing in various positions, you will strengthen your balance and coordination. Plus, by targeting several muscle groups at once, you will burn more calories.

Biggest abdominal crunch mistakes

Going too fast: Using too much momentum and doing too many repetitions can cause excessive strain on the spine.

Lifting too high: When performed correctly, ab exercises do not require a lot of motion. Lifting the upper back and shoulders is all that is needed. Lift any higher and your hip flexors and lower back will be taking over. Involving the lower back can place too much strain on it.

Pulling on the neck: Think of the core doing the work with a straight back. Don't pull your neck forward.

Straight leg crunches: Bend your knees to protect your back.

Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Contact Sally Anderson at slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

Your move | Standing core and balance exercises demonstrated by Barbi Bozich

Opposite arm/knee crunch: Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, place your hands behind the ears with elbows pointed outward. Contract abdominals and lift your left knee across the body, bringing your right shoulder toward the left hip. Hold for several seconds, then slowly return to the original position. Keeping the movement slow and controlled will target the core. Repeat eight to 10 times, then change sides and repeat. If you want a cardio effect, increase the tempo.

Tip: Instead of swinging your arms from the elbows, feel the movement coming from the torso.

Wood chop with knee lift: Hold one weight overhead with both hands. Contracting abdominals, rotate your body slightly to the left, pivoting with your right foot. As you lift your right knee, bring the weight down and across your body toward the outside of your right hip. Return the weight to the overhead position and allow the toes to touch the floor. Repeat the pattern eight to 10 times, then change sides and repeat another eight to 10 times.

Tip: To modify, do not lift your knee very high off the floor.

Leg extension with knee lift: Standing on your right foot with bent arms to your sides, lift your left knee to hip height. Contract your abdominals and, with standing leg slightly bent, stretch your torso forward with arms extended at shoulder level while extending your left leg to the back until it is parallel to the floor. Pause, then return to knee lift position with bent arms by your side. Repeat the pattern eight to 10 times, then change sides and repeat another eight to 10 times.

Tip: To modify this movement, allow your toes to touch the floor when you extend your leg to the back.

Find the strength within: Build up your core muscles 03/21/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 2:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wimauma motorcyclist killed in Hillsborough County crash

    Accidents

    A Wimauma motorcyclist was killed Thursday night in a crash in Hillsborough County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. 3 wonderfully weird shows premiering next week: 'The Lowe Files,' 'What Would Diplo Do?' 'Comrade Detective'

    Blogs

    It seems like nothing is off limits on TV these days. Next week, three new shows air that I can't believe are really happening. They're all weird in their own ways, and I'm delighted. But let's be honest, at the point I'd probably watch a TV show about people coming up with TV shows. America has spoken, and we'll watch …

    Matthew, from left, Rob, and John Owen Lowe explore supernatural legends in A&E's new reality show "The Lowe Files."
  3. 2-year-old girl shows football team how its done

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG — Football players may dread summer workouts, but not two-year-old Sophie Rosendale. She loves joining her father, St. Petersburg offensive line coach Mike Rosendale, three times a week for the Green Devils summer conditioning. Not only does she shout encouragement like her dad, she also straps on …

    Sophie Rosendale, 2, front, warms up with offensive lineman during practice at St. Petersburg High School, Wednesday. Rosendale is the daughter of offensive line coach Mike Rosendale. "She has been coming to practice for about one year," said Rosendale who has been a coach at the the school for 10 seasons. "She likes to show the players the proper techniques." [Photo/  Mike Rosendale]
  4. Editorial: HART board members need to ride the bus more, like they want us to

    Editorials

    The people in charge of the public buses in Hillsborough County have sent a clear message that there's one segment of the local population to skip over as the system tries to lure more riders: them.

    Many people ride public transit in Hillsborough County, but not, for the most part, the 13 people on the board of directors of  Hillsborough Area Regional Transit. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]

  5. Mariana Sanchez Ramirez, 23, was born in Torreon in the sate of Coahuila, Mexico, traveled with her family to the United States on a tourist's visa in 2000. She was able to stay in the U.S. and attended college after President Obama passed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in June of 2012. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]