Strengthen your core with this exercise

tThis is really not a panacea in the healthcare world. But this simple daily exercise by Anne Collins Duch, DPT, of Physical Therapy for Women in Delaware, can be very close.

Tight hamstrings? Lower back pain? Weak pelvic floor? Just had a baby? Duch says this quick but effective move can work for you because it will help you connect with your “core tube,” strengthen your hamstrings, and activate your inner thighs—and you can even won’t sweat. (Plus, it feels really good, trust us.)

In a recent Instagram post, Dr Duch wrote: “I’ve suggested a version of this several times this week to someone with back pain, someone with a ‘strained’ hamstring, and someone trying to set up. re-connected to their core canister after the baby.”

So, uh, what’s your core box?

These days, when bodybuilders talk about “core,” they usually refer to your abs. But your core box really includes your diaphragm, abdomen, hips, back, and pelvic floor, says Dr. Duch. A lot of our pain in this area comes from an imbalance in strength, which results in some muscles working harder than others to compensate.

This particular exercise is very effective because it activates all of these muscle groups at once. “We wanted to make sure that all areas of that box were asked for help,” says Dr. Duch. “It distributes the work in the core box more evenly.”

Give it a shot

Want to try this holy grail exercise for yourself? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs raised at a 90-degree angle on the couch or chair.
  2. Place a soft ball or a rolled up towel between your inner thighs and press your lower back into the floor.
  3. Inhale, bend your feet, and press your heels into the couch or chair until your butt is hovering just an inch or two off the ground while gently squeezing the ball between your legs.
  4. Take three to five long, steady breaths while hovering. Think about expanding your ribcage on an inhale and pulling your pelvic floor up on an exhale.
  5. Slowly lower your butt to the floor and shake your muscles.
  6. Repeat that three to five times.

A word of caution: This can sometimes take a toll on your hamstrings. If you find that you’re getting cramps when hovering, Dr. Duch recommends keeping your butt on the floor and simply pressing your heels lightly against the couch or chair. This will still activate and strengthen the hamstrings without making you limp.

Try incorporating this circuit into your daily routine, as a stand-alone exercise or warm-up, and see how your back, hips, and hamstrings feel. It may not be a panacea, but it can save you an expensive trip to chiro.


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