May the Belly be with you… Yes, I just made a horrible Star Wars reference, yet, this is pivotal for us tall men. A strong set of abdominals and obliques is key to our balance, our strength and our ease throughout life. Not only that, it also helps provide low back support, allowing you freedom in your every day life. In this article, I will show you three simple exercises you can do anywhere (well, almost everywhere) that will stregnthen your core and help you STAND TALL.
1. Abs with a block or a really thick book, or a rolled up blanket, or a stuffed animal. You can get creative here if you don’t have a block.
Simply start with a block (or your block substitute) in-between the legs as close to the pubic bone as possible. With those of you with low back issues, keep your feet on the earth or yoga mat for this exercise. If you don’t lower back problems simply lift your legs in the air without locking into the knee joints. Flex your feet and squeeze the block inwards with your legs and feel the low belly slightly press down. Take a deep breath in and lift the shoulders, neck, and head, wrapping the elbows in. Take a breath in your center and shift your elbows to your right knee.
Lift a little higher, squeeze the block, pull the belly slightly down. Inhale back to center. Do the same towards the other knee. Come back to center. One more lift up at center and then slowly release down. That is one round. Do 3.
For the added challenges, lift the arms up to the ceiling and each foot, rather than your elbows to your knee.
2. Leg drops with Block- Keep block in between your legs and squeeze, pull the belly down and bring your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Take an inhale here, and as you exhale, lower the legs about a third of the way down.
If your back starts to
come up, stay here. If you are okay, take an inhale here and lower another third. Stay here if your back starts to come up off the earth. If okay, lower about 5 inches of the ground on your next exhale. Hold here for 5 seconds, and then use your next inhale to slowly come back up. Take this slowly for 5 rounds.
3. Plank, Side Plank, Plank, Side Plank- The title pretty much speaks for itself. Take an inhale in high plank, exhale side plank to the left, facing open and reaching the left arm up high. Lift the hips up and gently pull the right hand towards the feet. Inhale back to plank slowly and exhale over to the other side, focusing on the same actions as the other side. Keep moving through this side to side movement through plank. Do 5 rounds of each side plank.
Notice what a difference these 3 simple abdominal exercises can make if you take them on only 3-4 times a week. What a strong yogi giant you will become! Om Shanti, Shanti. - Lee