Today’s exercise from Margot McKinnon, founder of Body Harmonics, is great for building support all around your middle. Why is this important? Because when you condition the muscles around your middle, you build core strength and support for your spine. Building 3-dimensional support around your midriff also helps your pelvis and hips and promotes an upright posture to support your head and neck.
With the exercises that follow, if you feel a hint of strain in your lower back, take a break and come back to it when you feel ready.
Step 1: Start on one side, propped up on your elbow with legs bent and apart, upper arm bent and hand resting behind your head. Leading with the upper elbow, bend to the side and return. Repeat several times on this side and then on the other side.
Step 2: Lie down on your back with legs bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor, arms stretched above your shoulders with palms of hands together. Using your legs as weights, pull your lower abs in to get at the deep layers. Lift both heals and then lift your right leg up to table top and lower. Repeat on the opposite side, keeping your pelvic area level and steady (don’t grip). Repeat this several times.
Step 3: Lower both heals down, open your arms, reach both arms back in space past your head if possible but not touching the floor. Circle both arms down towards your hips keeping elbows slightly bent. Return your arms/hands to above your shoulders, palms of hands together. Repeat if you like.
Step 4: With palms of hands together above shoulders, press belly button to spine and lift one leg then the other up to table top position. Do not press your back to the floor or arch it. With control, lower one foot to the ground, then the other. Remember to keep your lower ribs and the back of your hips/pelvis on the floor. Repeat several times. Repeat the arm circles from step 3 several times.
Step 5: Stay on your back in the same position, arms above your shoulders with palms together. Lift both heels, pressing low belly in. Holding steady through the upper body, lift both knees up to table top. Lower one leg, then the other to flat foot. Repeat. Now lift both knees up and then lower both legs down at the same time. Repeat the arm circles from step 3 several times.
Step 6: If this exercise bothers your shoulder or neck, you can leave it out. Swing over to one side (same position as step 1). Lift ribs, press through the sides of your legs and lift your hips a little. Try to feel the muscles all along your side. Repeat a few times. Swing to the other side and repeat a few times. Remember to do this exercise slowly and with control.
Mondays with Margot at: https://www.bodyharmonics.com/