Men use their strength to lift, push, pull and carry heavy loads. Throughout many years of this hard work, you may begin to feel it in your back. Your core body must remain strong as you age in order to stave off the effects of aging and wear and tear on your spine. Here are five core exercises targeted at the most important core areas which are your abdominals, lower back, hips and buttocks.
Abdominal Compressions and Picture Frame
Joseph Pilates understood the value of a strong core. Over 90 years ago, he designed an entire exercise method just for your core. Here are two primary Pilates core exercises. They work your deepest abdominal muscle. Lie on your back. Inhale and relax your stomach muscles. Exhale and compress your abdomen down toward your spine. Continue to coordinate your breathing with abdominal compressions eight to12 times. Next is the picture frame. Raise your arms straight up by your ears. Inhale through your nose. Exhale, reach forward down your body, raise your torso, compress your stomach and watch your stomach flatten downward. Inhale and return to starting position. Repeat eight to 12 times every other day.
Walking Medicine Ball Lunges With Rotation
Walking lunges will keep your core trunk and legs in shape. Start by standing with straight posture. Keep your stomach compressed inward throughout the exercise. Inhale and step forward with a long stride. Lower down a few inches. Exhale, transfer your weight to the front leg, push with your buttocks and thigh muscle to standing. Inhale, step forward with the other leg. Continue alternating legs with coordinated breathing. Do not allow your knee to lean over your big toe.
Hold a five to 10-lb. medicine ball at your chest and repeat the above exercise. Make it more challenging by shifting the medicine ball to one shoulder when you step forward. Bring the medicine ball back to your chest as you return to standing. Concentrate on good posture. Repeat eight to 15 repetitions every other day. Adding the rotation will strengthen your abdomen, back, chest and shoulder muscles.
Torso extensions strengthen the muscles that stabilize your spine. Lie on your stomach with your arms straight up by your ears. Inhale and relax. Exhale and raise your arms and legs up off the floor like Superman. Inhale, relax, down. Exhale and repeat eight to 15 times. Add an arm sweep for more back muscle engagement. Inhale and relax. Exhale, raise your arms and legs up and sweep your arms out to the side to touch your outer thighs. Inhale, slowly return your arms up by your ears and lower your legs. Use the coordinated breathing with every movement. If you experience pain in your shoulder, perform only the beginning torso extension exercise.
Standing Side Leg Lifts
This simple exercise will strengthen your hip stabilizers along with improving balance and postural stability. Stand sideways to a wall with a compressed abdomen. Use your hand on the wall for balance only if you need it. Inhale and stand tall. Exhale and lift your outside leg up to a 45-degree downward angle. Inhale and lower your leg. Exhale and raise it again. Work slowly with coordinated breathing. Repeat eight to 15 repetitions on each leg every other day.
- Senior Fitness; Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
- Anatomy of Strength Training; Pat Manocchia
- The Pilates Body; Brooke Siler
- YMCA Personal Training Manual; YMCA of the USA