Want to challenge your core in a whole new way? By using a foam roller you not only target your abs, but also your arms, back and balance. It’s a great way to add variety and intensity to your usual core routine.

A few tips to keep in mind if you’re new to the roller: Don’t get frustrated if it feels difficult at first, and doing these core moves with your arms at your side in a “T” position will make things feel easier. Remember to keep your back on the roller and your core pulled into your spine the whole time so that you don’t strain your back.

If you’re already comfortable with the roller, do 10 to 12 reps of each move, and go through the routine 2 or 3 times. Only rest for 30 seconds between each round, and try to flow from one movement to the next.

Not-So-Basic Crunch


This is a good one to start with if you’re new to the roller, or for your warm-up if you’re more advanced.

Lay on roller and bring hands behind head, keeping elbows open to sides to avoid pulling on neck. Bring feet wider than hip distance on the mat, crunch up, and then lower back down to starting position. To make this more difficult, place feet closer together on mat and curl torso up and off roller while bringing 1 leg up into tabletop position, alternating sides.

Tabletop to 45 Degrees


Lay on roller and start with legs in tabletop and arms either out in “T” position at sides, or parallel with roller for more difficulty. Curl head, neck, and shoulders up and shoot legs out to 45 degrees or lower, all while keeping work in core and not back. The lower the legs go, the harder it will be. For an added challenge, reach 1 arm off mat toward toes, then alternate arms and repeat.

Jogging


Lay on roller and reach arms down long and parallel with the roller or out in a “T” position for more stability. Curl your head, neck, and shoulders up and off roller, and bend 1 knee into shoulder while reaching other leg out nice and long in front. If you feel stable enough, lift arm opposite of bent knee off mat, then switch sides using control.

Scissors


Laying on roller, start curled up with legs straight up to ceiling. Bring 1 leg down to 45 degrees or lower, then switch sides. Both legs should move at same time and will pass each other halfway through. Again, for an added challenge, reach 1 arm toward lowered leg on same side, then alternate.

Double Leg Lifts


Laying on roller, start with legs up straight and head, neck, and shoulders off roller. Staying lifted, start to lower and lift legs up and down, making sure to use core and not momentum. Lift 1 arm off mat and reach it long and continue leg movements all while using core. Don’t forget to switch arms, and make sure you hit each side.

Source: Prevention.com

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