First we need to activate our core to get ready to work: Everyone’s body needs to prepare for exercise by actually doing some lighter exercises or warm-ups in order to prevent injury and increase range of motion.
Planks: four sets for 30 to 60 seconds – Start with your forearms and knees on the floor with the arms parallel to one another, if you can, straighten your legs and squeeze your entire body. This will tell your body, especially your core, to turn on and that more work is coming.
Floor bridges: four sets for 15 repetitions – While the plank primarily turns on the front side of the body this motion activates the back side or posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes and muscles of the back). Lay on your back with your knees bent, squeeze through your hamstrings and drive your hips up to the ceiling. Remember not to lift your head and to keep your neck relaxed.
Cobras: four sets for 15 repetitions – So many of us spend time chained to a desk. This causes our head to move forward and our shoulders to round. Cobras are a great exercise to improve posture. Lay on the floor face down with your legs straight and your arms down at your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and use this motion to lift your chest off the ground. Keep your lower body relaxed, legs on the ground and don’t push through your stomach. This is a small motion, but very effective.
Next it’s time to do some work!
Air squats: three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions – Stand with feet hip to shoulder width apart, hands across the chest, out in front or on your head. Lower your hips until your upper leg is parallel with the ground or lower. Keep the chest elevated trying not to bend over at the waist. Squats are one of the best exercises for your glutes, not only does it make them strong but they’ll look great too!
Single leg balance and toe touch: three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions per side – Standing on one-foot bend at the waist and try to touch the opposite hand to your foot. If you cannot touch your foot attempt to touch your shin. If this is still too difficult touch your knee. The more you do this the better your balance and flexibility will become and soon enough you will be able to touch your toes and balance with ease!
Bird dogs: three sets of 12 repetitions per cross angle – For this exercise start on all fours (basically a table top position) slowly raise one leg and the opposite arm straight out from the body, not to the side. Hold the end position for one second and keep your core tight. This is a great exercise for your shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings and, of course, your core.
To be continued...