Once you've spent a couple weeks building up the endurance of your deepest core muscles with Stage 1 of our core exercises for Baby Boomers, you're ready to move on to more advanced techniques and bigger movements.
Core Exercises Stage 2
1. Bird Dog. Start from the same all-fours position as in Quadruped Stabilization in Stage 1.This time lift one arm straight out in front and the opposite leg straight out in back, and hold at the top. You should be lengthening from your finger tips to your toes, while keeping your hips and shoulders square and your torso completely stable. Hold for as long as you can, then switch sides. Build up to a 30-second hold on each side.
2. Dirty Dog. Start on all fours. This time, keeping both hands on the ground and your knees bent, lift one leg out to the side like a dog at a fire hydrant. Your goal is to raise the leg only as high as you can without tipping your hips. Your focus should be on keeping your abdominals braced and your torso stable.
3. Lying Swiss ball pass. Lie on your back with your arms overhead, a Swiss ball between your hands, and your legs extended. Raise your arms and legs to 90 degrees and transfer the ball from your hands to your feet just over your mid section. Lower arms and legs simultaneously so you end up lying with the ball between your feet. Reverse the move to pass the ball back to your hands. Start with 6 transfers and build up to 20.
4. Supermans. Lying face down with arms and legs extended, raise one arm and the opposite leg. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds. Switch to the other side. When you can hold each side for 30 seconds, increase the intensity by raising both arms and both legs at once. Repeat 6-12 times.
5. Forearm Plank. Lying on your stomach, push up to support yourself on your forearms and your knees. Your spine should be in a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, to your hips. Use your abdominal muscles to provide the support you need to remain stable (like a plank). Hold the position as long as you can, gradually building up to 30 seconds. Once you can hold the modified plank for 30 seconds, increase the intensity by supporting yourself on your forearms and toes rather than your knees.
6. Side Plank. Lying on your side, with your head, shoulders, hips and knees in alignment, lift up onto one forearm and support your weight between the forearm and one knee. Raise your other arm toward the ceiling. Hold the position as long as you can, gradually building up to 30 seconds. Be sure to repeat on each side. Once you can hold the modified plank for 30 seconds on each side, increase the intensity by extending both legs, so your weight is supported on your forearm and your feet. Use your abdominal muscles to support your spine.
You may find these moves challenging at first, but keep working on the positions every day. Try to increase the hold by just a second or two each time, and before you know it, the most difficult moves will be easier, your posture will be better, and you may even begin to feel some relief from your low back pain.
And did you notice? Not a single crunch.