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Nine moves to give you a hard core
RUNNER'S LUNGE WITH PUSH UP: Adding a little push-up to a basic runner's lunge deepens the stretch for your hip flexors, the muscles on the front of the hip joint, while moving in and out of a plank warms up your core.
Start in plank position, and bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Bend your elbows slowly to deepen the stretch.
Return your right leg back to plank position, and repeat on the other side. This completes one rep.
BIRD DOG: The simple move, also know as quadruped, works your abs and back simultaneously making it one of the simplest core exercises around. Begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Bring your abs to your spine as your bring your left knee and right elbow together under your torso. Keeping your torso stable, straighten your right arm and left leg. Reach through your left heel to engage the muscles on the back of the leg and your butt. This completes one rep. After completing 10 to 15 reps, switch sides.
ELBOW PLANK & REACH: Adding an arm reach to your elbow plank forces the abs into high gear as they work to keep the torso steady. Begin in an elbow plank with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create more stability. Reach your right arm straight out, with the thumb pointed toward the ceiling. Return back to elbow plank, and reach your left arm out. This completes one rep.
REVERSE LUNGE WITH REACH: Get your legs fired up while testing your balance with this move. Stand with your hands at your waist, and step back with your left leg into a deep lunge. Increase the stretch by lifting your left arm overhead and reaching to the the right. Return to standing, and repeat this move on the other side to complete one rep.
GOOD MORNING: Say good morning to your backside with this simple exercise, a weight-free version of a deadlift. Don't forget your glutes and back are part of your core! Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and place your hands at the back of your head with your elbows opened wide. Pull your abs to your spine and keep your back neutral while pressing your butt backward, hinging at that hips, until your back is almost parallel to floor. Keep a slight bend in your knees as you bend forward. Return to standing, squeezing your glutes when you are upright. This completes one rep.
ALTERNATING SIDE LUNGE: Moving laterally is great way to work the glutes on the side of your pelvis (known as the gluteus medius) as well as the inner thighs. These muscle groups help stabilise the pelvis and should be considered part of the core. Start with your feet directly under your hips. Step your right foot wide to the side coming into a lunge with your left fingers touching your right foot. Your right knee shouldn't go beyond your right toes. Keep your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. Push into your right foot to return to standing, then lunge sideways to the left to complete one rep.
ELBOW PLANK & ROTATE: Twisting fires up the obliques, the abdominals that crisscross your core and wrap around your waist. Begin in an elbow plank with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Twist your entire torso to the left reaching your left arm to the ceiling. Your pelvis will rotate, too, but do keep it level, and don't let it rise to the ceiling or sink toward the floor. Return to and elbow plank, and repeat the twisting motion to the right to complete one rep.
DEAD BUG: The name may make you laugh, but this stability exercise fires up the core working both the front and back of the body. Lie on your back with a neutral spine and your hips and knees at right angles with your palms pressed into your thighs just above your knees. Pull your abs to your spine as you lengthen your right arm and leg out until they are almost parallel to the floor. Do keep your torso and spine completely stable as the arm and leg move. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the left side to complete one rep.
SINGLE-LEG BRIDGE: Work the glutes, low back, and hamstrings with this simple yet powerful single-leg bridge. Lie on your back, and bring your left knee into your chest with your hands clasped just below your knee. Lift your right toes up, and press your right heel into the floor to lift your pelvis and torso off the floor. Gently lower your torso back to the ground to complete one rep. After completing 10 to 15, repeat on the other side.
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It's time to get fit, after all, it's the new year! Start your new workout routine by waking up your core and kicking your abs into high gear with this circuit workout. It should take you around 20 minutes - so get moving!
Directions: Warm up with five minutes of light cardio, then repeat each three-exercise circuit three times. Start with 10 reps of each exercise, building up to 15 reps of each move as you get stronger.
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