We spend a lot of time here at The Family Hub talking about why exercise is so important, and what types of exercises are good for you. Now, we want to help show you how to do some exercises that will help strengthen your body and mind. Today’s workout can be short (7-minutes), or a littler longer if you choose to repeat the exercises two or three times through. The focus is on the muscles of the core which are important for balance and posture; the perfect antidote for desk-dwellers. Scroll down to read through the instructions, or simply click here to download and save (or print) the workout as a PDF.
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This position is one of the most effective to strengthening the core. Set yourself up with your hands under your shoulders, and work to create a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Make sure not to “sink” down in your shoulders, and think about pressing the ground away from you, but without lifting the hips. Take deep breaths, working to draw your abdominals in with every exhale. Hold for 45-seconds.
Modifications: If you’re new to a plank, you can modify this move by placing the knees on the ground. If you have any wrist issues or pain, you can also drop down to your forearms.
2. Starfish Superman
Move down onto your stomach. Even though your stomach will remain on the floor, you still want to imagine drawing your abdominals in, just like you did in your plank. Reach the arms over your head, and open the legs slightly, making a starfish shape with your body. On an exhale, lift your arms, head, chest, and legs off of the floor. This is your starting position. Inhale to hold, then exhale to pull the arms down, and squeeze the legs together, as shown in figure 2a. Repeat this 15 times.
3. All-Fours Balance
Coming onto the hands and knees, continue to draw the abdominals up and in so you can hold your spine in a neutral position. Reach the right arm forward and the left leg back, attempting not to shift your weight or open the left hip. On an exhale, lift the arm and the leg off the floor (keeping those abdominals drawn in!) and on an inhale, lower. Repeat this 10 times, and then switch sides.
4. Mountain Climber
Return to your plank (Figure 1) position. If this is challenging enough for you, you can continue to practice your plank. If you want to advance, draw your right knee into your chest on an exhale, making sure to keep your shoulders over your wrists. Inhale and return your right foot to the floor; exhale and pull the left knee in. If you’d like to advance further, begin to hop as you switch legs. This will add an additional cardiovascular challenge to the exercise. Continue switching legs for 45 seconds. Take a quick break before moving onto the next exercise.
5. Plank Jack
Return to your plank (Figure 1) position. From here, you are going to jump your feet out (Figure 5) and then back in (Figure 1). You can do this as slow or as fast as you like. As you speed up, you will be challenging your cardiovascular strength and conditioning even more. Continue for 45 seconds.
Modifications: If you don’t want to, or can’t jump, you can simply step your legs out to the side, and step them back in.
6. Push-up on Knees
Return to your plank position (Figure 1). Then, place your knees down on the floor (or a mat or towel, if that’s more comfortable) and pull your heels up towards your hips. Place your hands on the ground so they are positioned wider than your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line, just like your plank. Maintaining your plank form, inhale as you bend your elbows to lower into your push-up, and exhale to press yourself up. Continue for 45 seconds.
After you try these exercises, make sure to let us know how you did in the comments below! Or, share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. and make sure to tag us, @CYCLEKids.