Hopefully, with warmer weather we’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine with our friends and family. For some, that involves time by the water: maybe its Soda Lakes in Lakewood, Colorado or its at the local swimming pool. Either way, no one wants to feel subconscious when it’s time to don their swimsuit. In addition to your cardiovascular exercise, it’s important to build strength and muscle tone – that’s what will have you feeling great in a swimsuit! Keep your arms and legs strong, of course, but without a strong core, those limbs may as well be attached to a pool noodle. So, don’t forget core strength.
Here are several great core strengthening moves that also happen to be spine friendly.
Dead Bug (Image credit: https://www.self.com/story/best-abs-exercise-youre-not-doing)
This is a go-to exercise to target the core. The goal is to keep your low back in contact with the floor the whole time. If you feel your back arching, keep your legs up slightly higher from the floor. Lower your right arm and your left leg simultaneously, then switch. Perform 10 total (5 per side), rest, then do another set. For added challenge, hold the position for 10 seconds before switching sides.
Bird-Dog (Image credit https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/How-Do-Bird-Dog-Exercise-Your-Back-40441615)
I love quadruped position; you can bear weight into the shoulders without hurting wrists. Alternate opposite arms and legs; lift the left arm and your right leg, then switch. The slower you move, the greater the benefit. Keep your trunk as stable as possible as you shift your arms and legs. Perform 10-12 repetitions, rest, then perform another set.
Bridges (image credit https://www.pinterest.com/pin/222928250290449519/)
We often think of our abdominals when we hear the phrase “core work.” However, let’s not forget that technically any muscles in the trunk are “core” muscles. So, I include bridges here because it’s a great core exercise and helps strengthen your hips. To target your gluteal muscles (i.e. your butt) keep your heels close to you. The further out your heels are, the more likely you’ll be working hamstrings. That isn’t a bad thing, but simply be aware of your knee angle. Perform this exercise to fatigue.
Plank (image credit https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/plank-variations-challenge-your-core/)
The plank is a particularly challenging core exercise. Don’t perform this if you feel your low back arching toward the floor or if you need to keep your hips high in the air. If you can keep your spine in a relatively neutral position, hold it; start with ten seconds, and work your way up to 30 seconds. If this is too challenging, you can modify plank by dropping to the knees. Goals are the same; start with 10 seconds and work your way up!
If you’re able to perform all these exercises in one day, rest the following day. Allowing for adequate muscle recovery is key to muscle growth and strength. And, as always, please reach out to us with concerns or to make an appointment! We are here for you and all your strengthening goals!