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Do you want to improve your posture or get the flat abs you so want to achieve?
Physical therapists from Manila Doctors Hospital’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine recommend these exercises that strengthen the core muscles—pelvic, abdominal, and back muscles—to prevent poor posture, back pain, and injuries during activities. Aside from that, it helps flatten out your abdomen for that tighter and well-defined abs.
Perform each exercise at least once a day, 10 repetitions per exercise for maximum effectiveness. Do each exercise slowly and focus on good form for each repetition. Avoid any exercise that causes pain, and if you feel lower back strain, modify the position. Move to a comfortable range of motion or place a rolled up towel under your hips to support your lower back.
Lie on your back with your hands crossed across your chest or with your fingers on the sides of your head. Place your feet on the floor with your legs bent.
To begin the exercise, lift your torso, lifting shoulder blades off the floor and crunching your rib cage towards your lower belly. Hold for two-six counts then lower slowly to the starting position. Repeat.
2. Reverse Crunches
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet a few inches off the floor. Slowly contract the abdominals, focusing on rotating the pelvis up and bringing your knees towards your rib cage. Concentrate on letting your abs do the work. Hold at the top for six counts then slowly lower your knees to the starting position. Repeat.
3. Oblique Crossover Crunches
Lie on your back with knees bent, hands behind your head. Keeping lower back pressed into the floor, lift your shoulder blades off the floor and then curl your upper body diagonally across your body towards your right knee. Contract your abs and obliques as hard as you can at the top of the movement. Lower back down and repeat on the same side before switching sides.
Begin by placing elbows on the floor and resting body on the knees. Pull the abs tight to hold your body in a straight line from head to knees without sagging in the middle, eyes looking naturally forward. Hold this position for six counts, relax and repeat.
5. Back Extensions
Lie face down with hands either behind the back or lightly cradling the head. Lift upper body off the ground a few inches, keeping head and neck in alignment. To progress, lift feet off the ground keeping legs straight (knees don’t have to be together), hold for 2-4 counts and lower.
Lie face up with knees bent and hands at your sides. Slowly, uncurl your spine off the mat, one vertebra at a time until you’re in a bridge position, body in a straight line from knees to head. Arch up as high as you can, squeezing the back, then lower back down by slowly uncurling the spine onto the mat. Repeat.
7. Pelvic Tilt on the Ball
Lie at an incline position on the ball with the hips down, head supported by the head and feeling a stretch in the abs. Without rolling on the ball, squeeze the hips up then lower and repeat for 15 reps
8. Crunch on the Ball
Lie on the ball and place the hands behind the head. Lift the shoulder blades off the ball as you crunch up, squeezing the abs. Repeat.
9. Knee Drops
Bring the knees up and bend them to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor and arms out to the sides. Contract the abs and rotate the torso to lower the legs to the right, bringing them down to the floor. Bring the knees back to center and lower to the left side. Repeat for 10 reps on each side.
The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine (DRM), together with its dynamic team of physiatrists, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, is an advocate of a holistic approach in the diagnosis and treatment of impairment to improve the quality of life of the physically-challenged individuals.
DRM is open Mondays to Fridays at 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. 5 p.m. and is located at the ground floor of Manila Doctors Hospital, 667 United Nations Ave., Ermita, Manila. You may reach them at these numbers (02) 524-3011 local 3290 or 8145. For more information, CLICK HERE to visit their website.