To understand how your body’s own resistance to gravity can build length and strength, practice this core warm up exercise: 5/5/5.
Beginners can simply start laying down with knees bent and squeezing together at a 45 degree angle. Inhale slowly for 5 counts as one leg extends at knee level, feeling core muscles engage deep to the spine (both front and back) and then exhale completely for 5 slow counts. Inhale again to lengthen the reaching leg to the mid-calf of the bent leg and exhale for another 5 counts to anchor the core muscles to keep the spine from tucking or arching. Squeeze the inner thighs and buttocks as the reaching leg extends all the way to the ankle on another 5 count inhale, then exhale slowly for 5 counts and completely deepen the core engagement. Return to starting position. Repeat with other leg.
Challenge: Do entire exercise in “tabletop” position, with knees starting at 90 degree angle over hips.
Challenge: Do entire exercise while performing “The Hundred”
Challenge: Do entire exercise on a roller in table top, opting to lift head and chest up while pressing palms on floor to the side.
This is my favorite exercise this year – it really speaks to perfect core engagement – all the muscles of the hip, inner thighs, pelvic floor, abdominals and most importantly, the strong back muscles that have to counter gravity to keep the hips and back from arching or tucking.