Strengthen your core

By: Maureen Hagan

Author: Canadian Living


Strengthen your core

By: Maureen Hagan
Extended side-lying lift
Why it is great
This move targets back and deep abdominal muscles, shoulder girdle muscles and glutes. Together they are responsible for a strong, stable core, which helps you perform daily activities with ease and low risk of back injury. Since this move enhances spinal alignment and posture and helps strengthen and stabilize the muscles and joints that act directly on the spine, shoulder girdle and pelvis, it is ideal for anyone who has a weak back or cannot perform abdominal curl-ups due to lower-back problems.

Starting Position
• Lie on your right side supporting yourself on your right arm, elbow bent and directly under your shoulder, and palm down; your head, shoulders, hips and knees should be in a straight line and your left arm should rest on left hip.

• Straighten your top (left) leg and press the inside edge of that foot on the floor; bend your bottom leg 90 degrees, with foot behind you.

• Extend your left arm up toward the ceiling; pull in your abs and squeeze your glutes (A).

• As you exhale, lift your hips off the floor toward the ceiling and lift your left arm overhead (B).
• Pause and hold for about 15 seconds, breathing comfortably.
• Slowly lower arm, then hips back to the starting position.
• Repeat on same side, or alternate from side to side.
• Do one to three sets of three to five repetitions at least three times per week.

What not to do
• Do not slouch or drop down onto your bottom elbow.
• Do not arch your back as you reach overhead.
• Do not use momentum to lift your body up and arm overhead.

Muscles worked
• Obliques: internal and external
• Transverse abdominus
• Rectus abdominus
• Quadratus lumborum
• Serratus anterior
• Lower trapezius
• Gluteus medius

Maureen's Tip
If you exercise within two hours of waking up, replace ab curls with this exercise to reduce stress on the vertebral discs, which protect your spine against aging and injury.

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Strengthen your core