Happy March Pledge To Fitness community!!
I hope your health and wellness goals are going as planned. To help improve your workouts and get a strong core, I wanted to share a few great exercises which will help propel you into the spring! This article will hopefully give you a list of exercises to stop doing, and a list of exercise to start doing, with the intent to build a strong core, tone the muscles of the legs and arms, and provide you with a great warmup that you can do anywhere!
First thing to stop doing is the countless repetitions of sit-ups. Yeah, I said it, no more sit-ups! One big misconception about sit-ups is that many believe their abdominals are really working because there is burn. Unfortunately this burn is the fatigue of a deep hip flexor muscle (called the Psoas). Replace those dreaded sit-ups with something a little more beneficial, like a woodchop. To perform the woodchop, take your arms from over your head on one side of the body and rotate down towards the opposite hip (just like you were chopping wood!) This is a great addition to an exercise routine as the rotational movement is great for mobility as well as helps develop strong abdominals and obliques!
Second exercise to get away from is a burpee. That should be music to your ears! This exercise is a little too impactful and hard on the joints; therefore replace this movement with something like a squat to a chair or pushups. You get the same movement, you get the same muscles being worked, with a little less pain!
Third exercise you can stop doing in your workout are leg lifts. This again works that deep hip flexor complex, and while it may feel like an abdominal exercise it can really put a strain on your lower back. Instead try hip bridges. While on your back with knees bent, drive through your heels lifting your hips off the ground. Squeeze your butt at the very top and now we are on to building strong glutes!
Finally, wouldn’t it be great if we could replace long boring treadmill or elliptical workouts with something more invigorating or fun? Instead of spending hours spinning your wheels going nowhere try incorporating a variety of cardiovascular activities into your exercise routine. You can include the bike, machine rower, stair stepper, walking, or even doing a weighted circuit training routine or local free bootcamp as your form of “cardio.”
So with your newly prescribed do’s and don’t of exercise, try this circuit the next time you begin your workout and see how you feel. Complete 2 sets of 15 repetitions of the following exercises using minimal rest to the best of your abilities. See how you feel afterwards, hopefully you enjoy!
1) Woodchop to the left
2) Woodchop to the right
3) Chair squats
4) Pushups (whatever modification you may need)
5) Hip bridges