GET IN SOME LOW PLANKS

GET IN SOME LOW PLANKS

Yoga’s time-honored benefits include flexibility and mindfulness, but an assemblage of asanas are excellent for muscle toning and growth. Not to mention, some serious abdominals to shrink your waist. Boat pose is probably the best pose that you can do to simultaneously work on your posture and your lower abdomen. Most people compensate by using their upper abdominal muscles, and neglect the lower ones that are so important to lower back flexibility. Starting with the most basic variation of this pose (with feet lightly resting on the ground) is one of the best ways that you can build up your lower core strength, improve your posture, and increase your lower back flexibility.

How to do it:
• From a seated position, plant the feet as close as possible to your butt.
• Sit up as straight as possible; no slouching in the lower back.
• Lightly grip the thighs or shins to assist in straightening the spine.
• Lean back slightly through the chest and keep the sternum lifted to prevent arching in the back.
• Lift the legs, knees squeezing together.
• Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Tips: Start with just steps 1 – 3 before progressing to steps 4 – 6. Use your hand to check whether or not your back is flat. Depending on core strength, hamstring flexibility, and hip flexor strength, further extend the legs.

7 GET IN SOME LOW PLANKS
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“I absolutely love the low plank exercise because it creates a lot of stability around the entire core,” says Brian Flynn, owner of Flyn Fitness Solutions. “This helps you run a lower risk of back pain. It’s also a fantastic exercise to help slim down your waistline.”

How to do it: Set your forearms on the floor with elbows directly under your shoulders and legs fully extended behind you, with your knees locked out. The trick to this exercise is to be as parallel to the ground as possible, so try not let your hips drop or your head push toward the ground. The more aligned you are, the more effective it is. Draw your navel in, squeeze your butt and try to pull your elbows toward your feet (this will engage your lats). If you are doing this exercise properly, you will probably only be able to hold it for 20 seconds. That’s OK—put your knees back down on the ground with your forearms in place, rest for a few seconds and have at another rep.

8 DEADLIFT
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“If weight loss is the goal, I recommend learning how to properly deadlift,” says personal trainer and Co-Founder, Excelerate Wellness Victoria Viola. Andre Crews, a trainer at Crossfit Union Square, New York City agrees: “Deadlifts are a gym session must because they essentially work everything south of your neck: Traps, lats, pecs, abs, glutes, quads—the list goes on. It’s the most fundamental movement in the history of man. By building a solid foundation of lean muscle mass, your body will burn more fat while at rest, explains Crews,

 

9 LIFT FIRST, THAN CARDIO
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By running, biking or rowing after you’ve hit the weights—when your body is already tired—the same speed or intensity will have a greater effect on your fat and calorie burn than had you done it beforehand.

 

10 UP YOUR WEIGHT
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If you can do more than 5 reps of an exercise, up your weight—especially when you’re working bigger muscle groups through exercises like squats, suggests Roberts. “This will burn fat, in the belly and other areas, quicker than any ab exercise.”

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