1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Core Strengthen & Stretch

  • The following exercises are challenging moves that target the entire body, specifically the core.  

  • Add these moves to your current strength training routine or do them on their own to get your body ready for outdoor activities.

  • Form is key!  Start with light weights and practice the moves you're unfamiliar with.

  • Modify according to your fitness level

  • Check with your doc if you have any medical conditions.

The Farmer's Walk
In the traditional version, you pick up heavy weights in each hand and walk as fast as you can for as far as you can, which mimics activities like pushing a wheelbarrow or carrying heavy bags of dirt.  Another version is to push a heavy weight overhead and walk, keeping your arms locked and your core very tight to support you (see right).  
ohfarmerswalk.jpg (5140 bytes)

Back/Shoulder Stretch
Take the arms straight  out in front of you, palms facing each other.  Rotate the arms until the palms face out, cross one arm over the other and press the palms together then stretch the arms out, drop the head and round through the back while contracting the abs to deepen the stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds.

Wood Chop with Band/Dumbbell
This move targets the entire body, especially the abs and back. Attach one end of a resistance band to something sturdy, grasp band and dumbbell in both hands and begin in a lunge position.  Keeping the arms straight, rotate the body towards and sweep the arms up on a diagonal.  Repeat for 12-16 reps on each side. 

bandwoodchop.jpg (8201 bytes) bandwoodchop2.jpg (6672 bytes)
Chest Stretch
Lie face up on the ball and roll down until you back is fully supported. Relax your hips and head and let your arms fall out to the sides for a relaxing chest stretch. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Bent-Leg Deadlift
This strengthens the entire body and is good practice for how to properly pick things up - with the legs and not the back.  Squat down as though you're sitting in a chair with knees behind toes, chest lifted and shoulders back.  Pick up the weight and stand up, concentrating on the legs.  Lower and repeat for 10-12 reps.
bentkneedeadlift.jpg (8767 bytes) bentkneedeadlift2.jpg (6930 bytes) bentkneedeadlift3.jpg (5283 bytes)

Whole Body Stretch with Ball
With legs wide, place hands on ball and roll it out, pressing your chest towards the floor to stretch the back and hamstrings. Hold for 5 breaths

Clean and Press
This is a great move for the entire upper body with a focus on the rotators and deltoids.  Begin with weights in front of thighs, palms in.  Bend elbows and raise weights to chest in an upright row.  Flip elbows down and weights up so that they're over the shoulders and press weights overhead.  Lower arms, flip hands down and lower, repeating for 10-12 reps.

cleanpress.jpg (6933 bytes) cleanpress2.jpg (7120 bytes) cleanpress3.jpg (5690 bytes)
Back/Shoulder Stretch
Stand in front of ball and place the side of the right hand on the ball (thumb pointing up). Roll the ball towards the left while keeping the hips square. Hold for 3-5 breaths and switch to the other side.
Squat Toss
This full body move strengthens the legs and core.  Stand and hold a med ball or dumbbell. Squat as low as you can (knees behind toes and abs contracted) and touch the ball to the floor. Press through the heels to press back up while sweeping the weight up and overhead. Toss the ball up, catch it and repeat for 12-16 reps..  
squattoss2.jpg (6862 bytes)  squattoss.jpg (4431 bytes)
Back Extensions
Lie face down with hands behind the head. Lift upper body off the ground a few inches, keeping head and neck in alignment, then lift feet off the ground keeping legs straight.  Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.
Child's Pose
Sit back on your heels and bring your arms down along your body, palms facing up. Relax and breath for as long as you like
Plank
Get into pushup position, on hands and toes.  Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold for a 4 to 8 breaths
Cat Stretch
Kneel on all fours with knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Spread the fingers out on the floor with palms flat and contract the abs to bring the head, neck and back in alignment. Inhale and tip the hips toward the ceiling while drawing the shoulders back and down away from your ears; look up. Exhale and tuck the chin while pulling your belly towards your spine. Round the back and feel a stretch down your spine. Repeat for 4 to 6 breaths, moving smoothly between each move.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.