Wonder Woman Fitness

Archive for May 2011

Increase your core strength without 100’s of sit ups


sit ups

Time for a change from sit ups


Your core muscles have a lot to do with your posture.  In today’s society a lot of us spend time sitting (or slouching) in front of computers, tv’s, driving cars and leaning over things which can put a lot of stress on your lower back and effects your posture and how you hold yourself.  Your core muscles are actually the centre of your bodies strength.  Having a strong core will give can give you a flat stomach but more importantly it will make you more powerful, it will maintain stability for exercising and all other physical activities.  The benefits of a strong core are:

  • Improve your posture and prevent low back pain
  • Helps avoid back injury
  • Improves your physical performance
  • Improves your balance

 However, if like me the thought of doing loads of sit ups fills you with dread I may have the answer for you.  I have put together some exercises that work your core muscles (abs, stomach and obliques) and may help you lose your wobble and your muffin top.  I have included a video showing you how to do these exercises and also instructions so give them a go and see how you get on.  Stand tall and keep active folks…….

Complete all exercises slowly and under complete control and in good technique at all times.  Oh and the main thing to remember during this session is to engage your core, so pull your belly button into your spine and hold that contraction.  This is NOT the same as holding your breathe you should be able to breathe and hold the contraction, I don’t want you going blue, enjoy.

 Lunge with a twist – Begin with standing with your feet shoulder width apart.  Step forward with one leg and come onto your tiptoes of your back foot and lower your knee to the floor.  With the medicine ball or the weight lift from the inside of your knee to your opposite shoulder bringing the weight across the front of the body.  Push up with your front foot and return to the starting position.  Do 10 altogether 5 each side.

Overhead Squat – Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Hold the weight or the medicine ball above your head.  Sit into the squat making sure your knees don’t shoot past your toes and keep your back strong and your stomach in tight.  To return to the starting position straighten your legs and stand up.  Keep the weight above your head at all times.  Repeat x 10.

Swiss ball Roll in – If you are a beginner to exercise the have your shins on the ball during this exercise and if you are more advanced then put your feet on the ball.  So hold yourself as if in the press up position by locking out your arms and keeping your back straight and strong, stomach nice and tight.  With your feet or shins on the ball bend your knees and roll the ball into your chest.  Straighten your legs to return to the starting position.  Repeat this 10 times.

Overhead Knee up – Standing with your feet together, hold a weight or a medicine ball above your head.  Lock the arm to hold it in place.  With the opposite leg drive up with the knee and return to the starting position.  Lift your knee up 5 times each side with the opposite arm holding the weight above your head at all times.

Double crunch – Begin lying on your back with knees bent and up off the ground at 90°, your arms should be straight up above your chest.  Lower your arms and legs down to the ground without touching the ground and pull them back in to the starting position.  If you would like a more advanced version of this exercises you can use a weight in your hands and finish with a crunch when your knees and hands come back in.  Do 10 of these.

Russian Twists – Begin seated in the half sit up position.  Keep your feet on the floor if you are a beginner and if you are more advanced take you feet off the floor and keep your balance.  With or without a weight rotate your upper body from side to side.  Try hard to keep your lower body still whilst you twist from side to side.  Do this 20 times – a twist on each side is counted as 1 rep.

Swiss ball leg raises – Begin seated on a Swiss ball then walk forward so your upper back, shoulders and head are supported by the ball.  Your knees should be bent at 90°, knees directly over your toes with your hands resting on your hips.  Transfer your weight to one leg and lift your other leg off the floor keeping it in line with your body.  Hold for a count of one and repeat on the other side.  Do 10 altogether, 5 each side.

Cable twists – Standing side on to a pole or something you can attach a resistance band to, wrap a resistance band around it so it lies in line with your chest.  With both hands grip onto the band and bring straight arms across in front of your chest so you twist your torso around.  Try to keep your hips and legs facing forward and just move your torso.  Repeat 10 times on each side.

 Plank leg lifts – Begin in the plank position, with shoulders over hands and your body in line from shoulder to feet.  Keeping your stomach fully engaged, lift your left foot off the floor slightly, keeping your hips level.  Lower your foot to the floor then repeat on the other leg.  Complete 10 of these – 5 each side.

 Lateral plank with twists –  Begin in the lateral plank position with one foot on top of the other and one elbow directly below your shoulder and keeping your body in line at all times.  With your free arm start with it straight in the air and twist to bring it under your body aiming for under your arm pit.   Return to the starting position and repeat 5 times on each side.  Keep your back straight and abs engaged at all times as this will help with your balance.

 Back extensions – A great exercise to finish with.  Lie on your front keeping your feet together and on the floor at all times.  Keep looking at the floor at all times and with your hands by the side of your head, gently lift your chest and shoulders off the floor.  Slowly lower your body to the floor.  Repeat this exercise 10 times.

If you are a beginner to exercise do this circuit once, if you are at an intermediate level to exercise do this circuit twice and if you are advanced do this circuit 3 times.  You are aiming to complete each exercise one straight after the other without a rest until you have done all 11 exercises, then you are allowed a 2 minute rest.  Try and incorporate core exercises like the ones in this programme 3 times a week into your usual training schedule.  Good luck………….



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