When we look in the mirror, it is easy to notice our “problem areas,” or parts of our bodies that aren’t quite as fit or as toned as we’d like them to be. Would you like to strengthen and tone up your core, or create definition in your arms or calves?
We have all seen the ads, on TV and online, promoting a new exercise or diet that promises you will “get ripped quick,” or to lift and tone your glutes in 15 minutes a day. These ads may sound promising, but they are nothing more than a gimmick if not combined with a consistent lifestyle of proper nutrition, healthy habits and exercise.
While you might like to spend your time in the gym focusing on your so-called problem area, it’s important to remember that you will not see the results you are looking for if you aren’t focused on a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise.
This is the first of a three-part Fit Tips series focusing on common “problem areas.” These tips will only be effective if healthy habits are in place.
5 Exercises that Strengthen Your Core
Many people think the core consists of only the abdominal muscles, so they neglect the other muscles that make up the “core,” including muscles in the back, pelvis and diaphragm.
Erin Bedell, a Highland Park Personal Trainer at SWEAT Gym, in University Park, recommends five core exercises you can add to any fitness routine:
Hip bridges: Lying on your back with your spine in neutral (back not flat and not arched), raise your hips off the ground until they are level with your knees and shoulders. Hold for one count, lower your body to the floor and repeat 20 times.
Supermans: Lying on your stomach with your legs and arms extended, simultaneously raise and lower your legs and arms. Repeat 20 times.
Plank: Hold your body in the push-up position with elbows straightened for 60 seconds. For an added challenge, lower to your elbows.
Reverse crunches: Lying on your back with your arms out to the side, bring your knees to your chest until your hips come off the ground. Return to neutral and repeat 20 times.
Side plank: Lie on one side and lift your body off the ground, propped up on your elbow and feet and hold for 30 seconds. For more stability, place both feet on the ground, or for an added challenge, align both feet with your body.