An article appeared yesterday in the New York Times Magazine discussing the myths behind doing deep abdominal crunches for a strong back.
I couldn’t agree more. When repetitively overdone, such exercises can create new injuries.
Think of your core as your entire trunk, front, back and sides, beginning just below the collar bones and going all the way down to the back of the inner thighs, just below the gluteus maximus. Your whole body coordinates to create a length, strength, and flexibility.
Here are a good guidelines to keep in mind.
#1. Don’t over do one exercise. There is no magic exercises creating perfection. A few well done, thoughtful exercises are better than 50 sloppy ones.
#2. Play with gravity in your movements. Make sure to strengthen and lengthen all the muscles of your trunk. Do some sitting, standing, lying down (front and back), or balancing.
#3. Mix up your routine. Don’t get too comfortable in one series of movements. Challenging your brain and muscle memory is key in staying strong. Every muscle counts, each one helps another to do its job.
#4. Moderation. Start small, slow and steady. If you push out the gate too hard, you could injure yourself, or get frustrated very quickly.
Here are some excellent moves from the New York Times online article. Anyone who takes mat classes with me will recognize several of these movements. These movements can be modified based on injuries or weaknesses. For more beginning exercise routines, check out the post on The easy tv workout.