(MERCY HEALTH PARTNERS) Summer is almost here and the beach is calling. We all long to look good in a bathing suit and desire the magical washboard stomach. Here are some of my favorite core strengthening exercises.
• Vertical Leg Crunch - Lie on your back and extend your legs up keeping a slight bend in your knees. Contract your abs and raise up until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Keep your chin up and don't pull on your neck. Try to lift your torso toward your knees. Hold for a second before lowering to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions.
• Long Arm Crunch - Lie on your back with your arms over your head, hands clasped together, and arms closer to your ears. Bend your knees with feet flat on the floor. Contract your abs and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Hold for a second before lowering to the starting position. Repeat for 10 more repetitions.
• Reverse Crunch - Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands on the floor along the side of your body. Bring your knees up towards the chest so they are bent at 90 degrees. Contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor in a small motion. Hold for a second, lower and then repeat for 10 repetitions.
• Single Leg Bridge - This is great core strengthen exercise. Lay on your back with your hands by your sides or across your chest. Bend your knees and place feet flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are under your knees. Raise your hips off the floor creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Squeeze your core by trying to pull your belly button toward your spine. Slowly raise and extend one leg while keeping your hips raised and level. Bring extending leg to the starting position and switch legs. Repeat for 5 reps per leg.
• Superman - Lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched above your head. Raise your right arm and left leg about six inches off the floor. Hold for a couple seconds and lower. Repeat with the opposite leg and arm. Do 10 repetitions per side.
These exercises along with a great aerobic program and low fat diet will get you beach abs ready this summer.