Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Advanced BodyWeight Core Moves

When some people hear “core” they think six pack abs.   Not true.   A strong core is soo critical, as we have discussed before.   The "core" is defined as the deep muscles that stabilize, support, align, and move the trunk of our bodies.   The core consists of many different muscles that run the entire length of the torso.      

There are a couple of advanced bodyweight moves you can do to help strengthen your core:   Hip Thrusts and The Dragon Flag.

Hip thrusts are best performed on a bench (but can be done on the floor).    You lay down on your back on a bench with your legs stretched out.  Lift your straightened legs up directly over your hips and keep your legs vertical.   You might need to hold on to the bench until you are balanced enough to perform without holding on.  Tighten your core muscles and lift your hips (and legs) straight up off the bench.  Your hips and lower back should be off the bench.  Lower your hips to the bench in a controlled manner.  This is a repetition exercise.  Since these are bodyweight, you should do higher reps (more than 5) per set.    

The Dragon Flag was made popular by Bruce Lee.  It is even more challenging than the hip thrusts.  A dragon flag is performed on a bench (although again the floor will work) again, on your back and you grasp the bench behind your head.   You lift your entire body up in a straight line and then slowly lower back down.  At the top of the move, you should be rolled up onto your upper back, nearly your shoulders.  The goal is to keep your body straight.   These are very advanced so initially you should start with bend legs.   Bring your knees in to your waist. Pull up with your hands keeping your whole body rigid until it rises up and your torso points directly towards the ceiling.  Hold the position for a second or two and then lower your body back down until your butt is just a couple of inches from the bench.  That is a rep.   As you progress, keep extending your legs more every session until you can finally do the dragon flag with your legs completely straight.

Our core is key to all our movements in life (not just fitness).   

Stay tuned…….

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