Exercises That Strengthen the Abs and Lower Back

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Work your core area from the lower abdominal muscles to the hips with twists, jumping jacks and stability ball exercises to strengthen your abs and lower back muscles. View a professional demonstration in this free video of abdominal exercises.

Part of the Video Series: Abdominal Workouts
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Emily Wenzel with Body and Mind Enrichment. I'm a personal trainer and a Pilates instructor, an herbalist and an organic gardener. We're here at the Pilates Loft, and today, we're going to go over some exercises to strengthen the abdominals and the lower back. The first that you'd like to do with the exercise is, is find your lower abdominals. So, you want to feel right where your hip bones are, go two inches in and two inches down. Draw the, those abdominal muscles towards the midline of the body, try to avoid tightening the back too much. So, the idea is, you're going to be on your belly. And in that position, it might be a little precarious to find the lower abdominal muscles. So, connect with your body, good. So, you're going to lower all the way down. Feel again, where those hip bones are, visualize and connect from the lower abdominals, without hiking the glutes up. You want to keep the head in the same natural, long position. Without the head lifting up and down too much. And start with the arms behind and lower down, and bring the thumbs up, almost like you're hitchhiking, just slightly. So, inhale as you prepare, as you exhale, keep the abdominals working. And feel that you're reaching out at the lower and lifting up. The thumbs come up and activate the shoulder blades together. Inhale and hold and then, exhale, lower down. And if you want, you can get yourself to one side and then, lower down to that cheek. But then, make sure you alternate to the other side. So, inhale here, and as you exhale, reach out at that lower back, and lift the heart up. Instead of just extending back. And then, make sure you switch to the other side and the other cheek and lower it back down. So, more of a progression would be, as you lift up, bring the arms forward and just one at a time. So, inhale here, and as you exhale, you're going to lift the opposite arm and opposite leg. But again, keeping the neck long, and the focus still on the lower abdominals, with the lower back assisting, slightly. Inhale and lower, exhale, reach out at the lower back, and lift, light on the opposite arm. Inhale, and then, more of a progression would be both legs and both arms are going to lift up. And then, lower, inhale and exhale, reach out at the lower back, lift the chest up. And then, you can go into jumping-jack. So, you can widen and reach, inhale. And then, swim the arms and the legs. And then, carefully lower it back down. The next exercise, we're going to use the stability ball, and you'll see some of the similar positions. Position the ball, so your belly button and the hip bones are just slightly off, of the ball. And then, position your legs, where they're about shoulder width apart. But the heels come inward and the toes come outward, a little bit. The neck again, is nice and long, the arms are going to be back. And activate the lower abdominals, inhale as you lower. And as you exhale, you want to reach out at the lower back, lift the heart up. And then, just, just make sure that the head isn't swinging up and down too aggressively. Inhale and lower, if you want more of a progression. Reach one arm up and then, of course, switch to the other arm, so exhale and reach. And then, if you want more, reach both arms up, as you exhale, and circle them out and around. And then, do the opposite, so inhale and exhale. Reach them forward, inhale and then, exhale and then, reach the other direction, exhale. Then bring the arms, just safely behind the head, try not to pull too far forward. And take a breath in as you exhale, you're going lift and reach out and twist side to side. But try to avoid just twisting the neck and the head. It's going to be a small rotation, side to side. And then, back to the center, inhale. And then, exhale and lower, and just relax over the ball. Those are some exercises that you can do to strengthen the lower abdominals and the lower back. I'm Emily Wenzel with BodyAndMindEnrichment.org.

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