It’s core day, again. Last week we shared five moves for your upper muscles—today we’re sliding down the midsection with a routine for your lower core. Working out this area is a crucial part of ab day. It tightens and strengthens the muscles, which eventually results in a defined stomach and the loss of belly fat. So next time you’re at the gym, head on over to the workout bench. Or if you prefer working out at home, there are plenty of household items that will do just the job. Make sure to have dumbbells easily accessible to further engage your core in the following exercises.
Ice Cream Scoopers with Hip Raise
Dumbbell Seated Tucks
The Move: Leg Raises
How to: To start this exercise, you will want to flatten your back and tailbone to the floor. Remain posteriorly rotated in your pelvis so that you can utilize your abs to the fullest. Lower your legs while holding onto a bench overhead or while placing your hands under your glutes and lift them back up to return to starting position. To modify this exercise, you can lower one leg at a time and switch legs when you return to the starting position.
The Move: Extended Tucks
How to: This exercise is great for the lower core as it allows your legs to extend past horizontal, therefore increasing the challenge to keep your hips rotated posteriorly. This is where lower ab engagement is maximized! Sit on the edge of a bench, box, or couch and start with your legs tucked in toward your chest and your hands behind you to support you. Draw your navel into your spine and extend your legs downward and away from your body and tap your heels on the ground. Keep your core engaged as you bring your legs back to the starting position. To modify this exercise, you can also extend one leg at a time and switch at the top.
The Move: Ice Cream Scoopers with Hip Raise
How to: Keeping the posterior rotation of the pelvis in mind—we are going to add some spice to the extended tuck. Lying horizontally, scoop your toes down toward the ground and perform a leg raise to get your toes back over your hips. When your toes are over your hips, engage your abs again and drive your heels to the sky using your lower abs. Slowly and with control, lower your hips back to the floor and repeat the exercise. To modify this movement, simply scoop one leg down toward the ground and bring your legs into a tuck position to tuck up toward your chest instead of the straight leg extension to the sky.
The Move: Dumbbell Seated Tucks
How to: To challenge your lower abs even more, we are going to add a 5 lb dumbbell to your extended legs in this movement. Continue to keep your hips neutral by keeping your core engaged and not letting your belly button roll forward (indicating ab relaxation). Hold the weight between your feet and support your upper body by holding onto a bench or chair. Push your legs outward and take the weight away from your body but don’t let the weight drop without control. Roll your legs back into a tuck and extend again as you continue to keep your hips and your ribs neutral and in control. To modify this exercise, just take the dumbbell out of the exercise.
The Move: Hip Raises
How to: This exercise is one of my favorites and it is more challenging on the way down than you might think. Lie flat and hold onto the edges of your bench as you bring your legs up over your hips. Drive your heels to the ceiling using your core to lift your hips off the bench. Lower your hips back to the bench with control and try not to swing your legs forward or backward over your head or away from your hips in this exercise. To modify, bend your legs as you tap your heels on the ground and crunch to roll up toward your chest as you lift your hips off the ground, then lower slowly back to start.
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