Whether you are training for a sports competition or to hoistthe kids into the car check out these

Your core is made up of the often neglected abdominal, lower back, and oblique, or rotator, muscle groups. Most of our movements originate from the core as it is a major link between our upper and lower body. It is also responsible for stabilization and is a key factor in developing power, speed, quickness, agility and coordination.

A strong core is essential for good posture and is vital in protecting the lower back from injury. On top of all of that, having a strong set of abs and lower back just looks good! Perform all exercises using slow and controlled motions while focusing on the muscles intended to be worked. Do not use jerking types of motions. Stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort. Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.

1. Foot Tapper, (Oblique Exercise) - Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor about six inches apart and your knees bent. Position your feet fairly close to your body, arms at your side, shoulders on the floor or close to it and chin tucked. Squeeze your left oblique (side of abdominal) and tap your left foot with your left hand.

Do the same with your right hand and continue alternating back and forth. Tap each foot 10 times. To increase the difficulty reach under the legs and tap the opposite foot.

2. Bridging, (Lower Back Exercise) - Lie on your back with your feet shoulder width apart, flat on the floor with your knees bent. Place your hands on the floor next to your hips. Contract the low back muscles and lift the hips off of the floor until your torso and thighs are in a straight line. Hold for 5-10 seconds, return to the starting position and repeat 5-10 times. A pillow is optional.

3. Lower Body Crunch, (Lower Abdominal Exercise) - Lie on your back, bend your knees toward the ceiling and raise your feet off the ground. Your thighs should be at a 90 degree angle at your hips with your feet close to your buttocks. Place your hands flat by your side. Roll your hips and knees toward your chest while contacting the lower abdominal muscles.

Return to a 90 degree angle and repeat 10-15 times. 4. Planking, (Total Abdominal Exercise) - Start in a traditional push-up position with your back straight.

Place your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders. Tighten your abs and lower back and hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat.

To isolate the upper or lower abs slowly extend one arm or leg out off the ground at a time alternating all four. A towel under the elbows is optional. .

By: Jim Phillips

Soccer World

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