By Shannon Sutton
Last month, we talked about working the abs (six “pack”) and “love handles”. It is so very important to work opposite muscle groups to not only promote symmetry; and, more importantly, to prevent injury. Focus on lower back strengthening is often neglected in workout routines, yet (ironically) lower back pain seems to be one of the most common complaints people have.
The following are a couple of simple, yet very effective, exercises you can incorporate into your routine in order to promote a healthy back and a well balanced core.
• Bird dog
Begin on all fours, and position yourself in neutral spine (not arched or bowed) facing the floor. Raise your left arm and right leg simultaneously while pulling your abs in and maintaining balance. Extend straight out (arm overhead and leg straight with toe pointed), and hold. Switch to right arm and left leg. Perform 15 to 20 on each side.
• Sky Divers
Using an E-ball, begin face down with your feet wedged against the wall, body weight on the ball. Extend your arms forward (overhead). Slowly begin to raise your chest slightly while lowering your arms out to “T”, squeezing your shoulder blades, glutes and lower back. Hold for a count and return to starting position. Repeat for several repetitions (resting between sets).
Shannon Sutton is an independent certified personal trainer. Her certifications include ISSA, NASM, APEX and Reebok. She has invested years in helping individuals reach their health, fitness and wellness goals. Contact her at (210) 722-3962.