Increases endurance and strengthens the lower back, stretches abdominals
- Sit in a chair or on your bed with your feet a little more than hip-width apart, toes pointed forward. Contract your lower abdominal muscles and, on an inhale for a count of four, slowly bend forward from your hips until your torso is at a 30- to 45-degree ANGLE. Exhale and, on a count of two, squeeze the muscles in your buttocks and your lower back to return to starting position. For added resistance, bend your elbows and place your fingertips on each shoulder as you perform the exercise. Repeat as many times as you can without strain, working up to 20 repetitions.
Seated twisting crunch
Strengthens the muscles of the lower abdominals and quadriceps
- On the floor or your bed, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat and hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Lift your right foot two to four inches off the ground, take a deep breath and exhale for two counts as you twist and touch your left elbow to the outside of your raised right knee. Inhale and slowly return to starting position on a count of four. Repeat as many times as you can without strain, working up to 20 repetitions; switch sides.
Good morning stretch
Strengthens the lower back in all planes of motion
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and extend both arms out to the sides. Inhale, and on a count of four, gradually contract your lower abdominal muscles and bend forward (35 to 40 degrees) from the hip. (If this feels like a strain, bend your knees.) Exhale for a count of two as you squeeze the muscles in your buttocks and lower back to bring you back up to starting position. Repeat as many times as you can without strain, working up to 20 repetitions.
Squat with bicep flex
Promotes hip and core stability; strengthens gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and upper back; conditions the biceps and stretches the triceps
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms straight out in front of you, hands in fists with thumbs facing up. Inhale, contract your abdominal muscles and bend your knees until you’re sitting down. Pause in the squat position, then exhale as you squeeze your biceps and bend your elbows, bringing your thumbs toward your shoulders, until you reach a 45-degree angle. Inhale as you extend the arms and straighten your legs, returning to starting position. Repeat as many times as you can without strain, working up to 20 repetitions.
David A. Boley II is a board certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. He practices primary care in Baltimore, Md. Shane Boley is a NASM certified personal trainer who specializes in strength, core and balance training for adults. He lives and practices in San Mateo County, Calif.Â