Stretch Back Over a Roller to Boost Your abs

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This move is a great way to increase your range of motion and intensify your abdominal training. Simply place a foam roller under your shoulder blades to allow your chest to fully open during the downward phase. Remember to use a smooth fluid motion to avoid moving the roller out of position.

1. Sit on a padded surface or a mat, with the roller positioned behind your mid-back (it should end up just below your shoulder blades). Put your feet flat on the floor; place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointed to the sides.
2. Keeping your head supported with your hands, slowly lower your head, neck and shoulders to the floor while slightly arching your back over the roller. On an exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and curl your upper body forward. Focus on compressing your navel in toward your spine. Pause for two seconds, holding the peak of the curl. Do 12 to 16 reps, rest for 20 seconds and repeat.

Source: Los Angeles Times


Balancing Builds Strength & Flexibility

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If you’re familiar with the classic yoga pose called “downward facing dog,” try this variation for more of a challenge. It develops flexibility in your legs while strengthening your core and upper-body muscles.


Step 1. Begin on your hands and knees, then curl your toes under and lift your hips to straighten your knees, pushing your heels toward the floor. Shift your weight to your left leg and raise your right leg off the floor. Keep your right foot flexed, with your toes and knee pointed down.

Step 2.  Focus on keeping your shoulders and hips facing the floor as you shift your upper-body weight to your right hand. Slowly raise your left arm off the floor while you use your core muscles to stabilize your shoulders and pelvis. Find your balance and hold for three complete breaths. Slowly lower your arm and leg, then switch sides and repeat the exercise on the other side.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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