Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Strengthening Your Core Muscles While Standing Up.

 Last time I looked at how important it was to have a strong core. This time I'm looking at ways to get a strong core without doing it all on the floor.  Yes, I do some of my core strengthening on the ground but it is not that easy so I prefer choosing exercises I can do standing up.  In addition, I still have to modify some of them so I don't hurt myself or get discouraged.

Although standing core exercises are not as effective as the traditional ones such as plank, abdominal crunch, or bridge, because of gravity.  Unfortunately, gravity helps do the exercises rather than providing resistance but for some people, the standing versions are better due to back issues. In addition, standing core exercises tend to target more muscles in your back and hips than the normal ones done on the floor.

One that can be done is the standing bicycle crunch. It actually mimics the bicycle crunches you do on the ground.  Furthermore, it helps your body be more functional, burns more calories, and there is less stress on your neck and back. Basically you bring your hand up behind your head with your elbows out.  Bring up the left knee while bringing the right elbow towards it as you would if you are on the floor.  Then you place the left leg on the floor and return the right elbow to its original position while standing straight.  Repeat with the right leg and left elbow and then revert back to the left.  Continue alternating sides.

If you want to take the standing bicycle crunch one step further, add in a squat.  You would start by lifting the left knee and moving the right elbow towards the knee and then return to a starting position. At this point, rather than switching to the other side, you squat while holding your hands up behind your head.  So you go down into a squat and back up.  Then you switch to the left elbow and right knee crunch and back to standing position. Then you throw in another squat.  Keep repeating. This variation burns even more calories.

For this next exercise, you'll need a dumbbell or a kettle bell. You grab the weight and hold it with both hands in front of your chest.  Keeping both hands on the weight you will bring it up by the left side of your face, up around to behind your head and down the right side till you return to the original position.  Then reverse the circle up the right side, behind the head, down the left side to the front.  This overhead circle or halo can be done with 8 or 4 or 2 in one direction before switching and doing 8,4, or 2 the other direction or you can do singles.  It is up to you.  In addition to working on your core, it also works on the rotational function of your abs along with your shoulders, triceps, and upper back.

Next is the standing oblique bends also known as the weighted side bend.  As the name implies, it targets the obliques.  This requires a set of dumbbells so you have one in each hand.  As you hold one dumbbell in each hand, feet a bit more than hip distance apart, you are ready to start.  You hold the hands down by the thighs, then slowly lean sideways to the right side allowing the weighted hand to move down towards your ankle.  Come back up slowly to an upright position, then slowly lean sideways to the left allowing the weighted left hand to move towards the ankle before slowly coming up.  Repeat multiple times. 

These are four standing exercises to help get you started on improving your core strength.  I'll revisit the subject in the future with more standing exercises.  I'd love to hear from you if you'd like to share your thought.  Have a great day. 

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