Bird Dog – Get down on your hands and knees with your knees underneath your hips and your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Tighten your core and ab muscles as if tightening a corset around your waist. Keeping your core tight and your back flat, slowing move the opposite arm and leg simultaneously. Try to avoid sagging or rounding your back. Also, keep your core strong without rocking to one side as you lift your arm and leg. Keep both shoulders parallel to the floor. NOTE: The leg and arm should only be raised as to heights that allow you to maintain the shoulders and pelvis in parallel to one another, the core engaged and the spine in neutral position. Return to neutral and repeat on the alternating leg.
Cat/Cow – Get down on your knees and hands with back and neck in a neutral, straight position. Make sure your knees are underneath your hips and your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Slowly tighten lower abdominals, rounding the back towards the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds, then release and return to neutral. Arch the back in the opposite direction with your head and tail bone towards the ceiling. Release and return to neutral.
Plank – Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat or floor with your elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders, palms down and fingers facing forward. Press through your shoulder blades until they are spaced wide on your back (instead of being pinched together). Next, tighten your abdominals to lift your waist off the floor. Engage your abdominal/core muscles. . It should feel like you are tightening a corset around your ribs, waist and lower torso. Form a straight line through your neck and upper body to your knees. If you can hold this for 60 seconds, contract your thighs and push through to your feet forming a straight line through your feet.
Superman Lie on your stomach on a mat or the floor with your legs outstretched behind you. Your toes are pointing toward the wall behind you. Reach your arms out overhead with your palms facing each other. Relax your neck and align your head with your spine. Exhale. Deepen your abdominal and core muscles to stabilize your spine and slowly and strongly reach both legs away from your torso until they lift a few inches off the floor. At the same time float both arms a few inches off the floor. Keep both legs and arms straight and allow any rotation in the arms, legs, shoulders or pelvis. Your head is aligned with your spine. Do not allow your head to lift up or to droop toward the floor. Do not allow the back to arch. Hold this position briefly.
Knee to Chest Stretch
While lying on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor, place both hands behind one knee and bring it to the chest.
*Photos courtesy of ACEFitness.org
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