Hello Fit Diva
How is 2018 going so far? Movin and groovin and feeling fabulous? Even if your crazy busy, as I’m sure most of you are…hey we are hard-working women so we are always busy..make sure your feeling fabulous and taking care of YOU during the Tasmanian devil moments I call them.
This month’s Theme: LOVE of course! SELF Love that is!!
Lets try giving our tight overworked neck and back some self-love with some new ways to use the fabulous foam roller AND get a new routine for your core. Yep, we look at the darn roller and say…boy do I need to use that and then just walk away. Heck, you may even have one at home and still don’t use this awesome much-needed torture device..I mean massage tool.
Well…now it’s time!
Pain in the Neck
Do any of you gals feel strong as can be but during lots of core work or maybe even little core work your neck starts to feel taxed and sore? A few things could be going on.
The # 1 issue is usually bad form. Or maybe an old injury or maybe just overuse or super tight traps and shoulders from bad posture…. I could go on and on. The point is we feel that stiffness and pain in the neck area and then our core work starts to go down hill. As most of you know or hear anyway..a strong CORE is a must and foundation for all other movements.
I’m not talking about the “6 pack ab” look. Ab strength and core strength are 2 different things. Yes, we all want nice flat, tight bellies, but that mainly happens through eating the right foods for your body! And getting in enough calorie burn from exercises you enjoy!
Foam Roller & Core Work
Yep! This awesome tool that you should be using on a weekly basis to help keep those beautiful hard-working muscles less sore and more mobile, comes in handy for some core work. Hey, now you can get 2 tasks done in one workout! A stronger, sexier core and some message to your back & buns. There are different lengths and textures. Be sure to buy the longest length roller. It is about 35″ and it has a smooth surfice. Now, let’s go over some new exercises!! You can create the following as a circuit or use them alone in between other routines you already have.
Try These New Moves
Negative Leg Drop
An effective yet safe way to train the core and abs is to focus on negative work, with hips elevated on a foam roller. It’s important not to arch the back or feel any lower-back strain while doing these exercises
- Lie down and place foam roller beneath hips. Head stays on floor.
- Keep upper body firmly planted on ground. Engage abs throughout the movement. Meaning, keep pushing down the low back.
- Start with legs directly over hips (pointing toes up to ceiling) and lower slowly toward ground, without allowing rib cage to expand
- Vary leg positioning to challenge entire area. For example, lower legs together on way down, and spread them wide, doing half circles, on return.
- Lower legs on slight diagonal to engage obliques.
- Start position. Lower your legs as low as your low back allows. Reach out of your toes and keep low back down
- Another option is doing 90/90s. This approach challenges the entire core..aka muffin top & massages your hips and low back. Modify slightly bending knees to reduce lever strength:
****THIS IS KEY**** PLEASE READ… you must keep your knees lined under your hip bones. If you do not understand…please message me! IF you don’t, the exercises will not work!!
- Start with knees directly over hips, then drop both legs to one side so that hip angle is 90 degrees; tap down and engage abs to lift legs back over hips.
- Repeat on other side
- Do these moves slowly to strengthen the back. Try not to push-off floor or use arms; utilize all core muscles to move legs and weight from side to side
- See video on IG or FB or Youtube
Plank is a popular exercise, but it can cause neck stress. When fatigue sets in, we often lead with the chin or drop the head. In the high, low or side-plank position, it’s essential to keep the spine in alignment (no arching the back..aka booty up) and maintain proper head placement. One easy fix is to do planks on an incline (any elevated surface). The elevation provides enough angle change that gravity has less force to adversely affect positioning. Intensify the work with one of these (or other) variations:
- advanced plank. Roll the roller 1-2 inches forward and back for a killer core burn(see video)
- modified plank. If your low back hurts start here.
See BELLADIVAFITNESS Youtube for full video on proper plank form.
Basic Crunch lying on roller
If your neck feels no tension and just your core is on fire…then add this killer to the mix. The foam roller also feels awesome on your muscles going down your spin.
- Line spine up on roller and keep knees bent
- Cradle your head in your hands, chin up and elbows wide
- Crunch up and press spin into roller
- Hold 2 seconds and lower
Hopefully you picked up some new core moves even if your neck is always pain-free AND, of couurse I hope this gets you rolling your booty more often so you can be pain free during all those squat jumps and long runs.
I recommend you start with the 3-4 moves above as a circuit. Begin with 10 reps each, 2 sets & 30 second plank. Work up to 3 sets 15 reps, 1 min plank.
Add this in a few times a month to your workouts. Remember, keep the body guessing with variety & have FUN!!!