STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE WHILE STRETCHING YOUR SPINE :
Use this Pilates roll-down exercise to stretch and strengthen your core muscles. Leaning against a flat wall to perform the move helps you hold and maintain a C-curve shape to your spine. …
Grasp a light dumbbell in each hand and stand with your back against the wall. Your shoulders and hips should touch the wall. Walk your feet forward, bend your knees slightly and firmly press your back into the wall. Let your arms hang below your shoulders.
Tuck your chin in toward your throat and begin to roll down until just your lower back and the back of your pelvis remain in contact with the wall. Pause at this point and focus on pressing your navel toward your spine as you move your arms in small circles six times. Pause and reverse the circles, keeping your arms loose. Roll up slowly, one vertebra at a time, and return to the start position.
Here’s a simple yet challenging way to firm and tighten your buttocks and thighs. If you start to incorporate this move into your exercise routine now, you can help get your lower body in shape for the summer.
Step-1. Lie on a padded, flat surface and place your feet hip-width apart atop a round 36-inch foam roller. Make sure that your feet are flat, with your heels and toes on the same level. Extend your arms straight alongside your body with your head resting on the floor.
Step-2. On an exhale, push down evenly with both feet on the roller. Do not allow the roller to move, and be sure to keep the soles of your feet facing the floor throughout the exercise. Raise your hips, waist and mid-back off the floor. Pause for 10 seconds at the top of the lift while balancing on your upper back and both feet. Concentrate on squeezing the muscles in your buttocks and backs of your thighs. Slowly lower your hips to the floor, then repeat three to five times.
You’ll feel this exercise more in the abdominal muscles — and less in the hip flexors — by gripping a roller with the backs of your thighs. That’s because recruiting the backs of your legs will prevent you from overworking the front of your legs and hips. The result is an intense workout for your abs.
Lie on a mat or a padded surface. Cross your ankles and hug a 36-inch roller by squeezing your heels toward your hips. (Hold the roller behind your ankles, not behind your knees.) Place your hands behind your head. Inhale.
On an exhale, contract your abdominals and, without dropping the roller, raise your tailbone and hips slightly off the floor. Simultaneously roll your head, shoulders and upper back off the floor, moving your body into a tight ball. Pause at the peak of the contraction, then slowly release down to the starting position. Repeat 12 to 16 times. Rest, change the cross of your legs and repeat for another set.
Whenever you feel tightness in your chest, shoulders and back, practice this variation of a backbend, or bridge pose. It will help release tension in your mid- and upper back as well as stretch and strengthen your hips and legs.
Step-1. Lie back on a mat with your heels resting on a sturdy chair. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart and your knees are parallel to each other.
Step-2. On an inhale, press firmly on your feet as you raise your hips toward the ceiling. Interlace your fingers and rotate your upper arms outward so your shoulders can roll under. Keep your arms and hands on the floor while imagining your shoulder blades are moving up and through your chest. This will help open and release tight spots in your upper and middle back and chest area. Hold this position and focus on slow, deep breathing. To come down, release your hands and slowly lower your hips to the floor.
Here’s a new way to spice up your basic abdominal crunches using a 36-inch round roller. This is a challenging exercise, so be patient if you find it difficult at first. And remember: It’s important to keep your shoulders and hips level throughout the entire move.
STEP-1. Sit at one end of the roller, line up your spine on the roller and lie down on it. (Scoot down enough to make sure the back of your head rests on the roller.) Place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent, toes facing forward. On an inhale, extend your arms straight behind you, elbows tight and thumbs facing the floor. Focus on maintaining your balance.
STEP-2. On an exhale, sweep your arms straight in front of your chest, fingers pointing toward your feet. Simultaneously raise your right foot, contract your abdominals and roll your head, shoulders and chest off the roller. Pause for two seconds while pressing your mid-back down against the roller. Slowly return to the start position with your arms overhead. Repeat, raising your left foot off the floor. Continue to alternate legs for eight to 12 repetitions.