The lower abdominal muscles perform the important function of helping protect the spine from injury. Preparing these muscles before and after exercises helps you get the most out of your workout. Stretching also has an added benefit in causing your muscles to continue working well after your warm-up, workout and cool down are complete. As with any stretching activity, proper posture is the key to correct warming up a muscle group. Keep your head straight with eyes ahead, shoulders relaxed and your back straight.
Cobra stretch. Lie flat on your stomach, hands positioned flat on the floor below your shoulder (like a push up position) and with the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Gently push your body up with your hands to straight arms. Don’t arch the back too much. Your aim is to feel a gentle pull in your lower tummy area. Hold for a 10 count, lower back down to the ground. Repeat 5 times.
Standing abdominal stretch. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place the hands, with fingers down, on the back of the hips. Focus on keeping proper posture with a straight back and relaxed shoulders. Slowly lean back just a little and lift your chest up to the ceiling. You should be feeling the stretch in your lower abdomen. Hold for a 10 count and relax. Repeat 5 times.
Lying abdominal stretch. Lie flat on your back with straight legs and arms extended over the head. Slowly reach with your arms by lifting the chest only and stretching the lower abdomen. Hold for 10 counts and relax. Repeat 5 times.
Tips & Warnings
- Never bounce during a stretch.
- Never stretch past the point of feeling a gentle pull in your muscles. You should never stretch until the point of pain.
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