MUSCLES IT WORKS
Core (Abdominals & Low Back), Hips
HOW TO DO IT
Get on the ground on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Inhale as you lift your right arm to about shoulder height and extend it straight ahead. Exhale as you lift your left leg to about hip height and extend it (foot flexed) behind you. Continue breathing as you hold spinal extension for a set amount of time. You can also do repetitions by drawing the right elbow and left knee together as you exhale and extending the right arm forward and left leg backward as you inhale again. Repeat with the left arm and right leg.
SETS & REPS
Do 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions (reps).
Do 1 to 3 sets at 30 to 60 seconds per set.
WEIGHT OR RESISTANCE
None needed (just use your body weight)
DON'T DO THIS MOVE IF
Modify this move by following the directions to make the spinal extension easier if you have low back problems.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT
You should feel your core working during this exercise. You may also feel your shoulders working if they are already tired. Keep looking at the ground below you; do not look up or behind yourself. To maintain correct form, make sure you engage (pull in) your abs and tuck your tailbone to protect your low back. As you extend your arm and leg, focus on reaching forward and backward, rather than lifting upward. Hold your abdominals strong and focus on lifting your leg from your inner thigh to keep your hips squared toward the ground. When working your right arm and left leg, your left hand should strongly press into the ground to keep your left shoulder lifted (and the reverse if you're working your left arm and right leg). Focus on keeping your shoulders (on both sides) back and away from your ears.
HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER
Modify this exercise if you feel pressure or pain in your low back, if your hips open to the side, or your shoulders scrunch toward your ears. Extend and lift your arm only or your leg only (instead of both at the same time). You can also extend your leg behind you, but keep it lifted lower than your hip or keep your toes on the ground.
HOW TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF OR PROGRESS
If you can do 2 additional repetitions per set or complete 60 seconds without getting tired, consider adding repetitions, time, and/or sets. For example, instead of doing 10 repetitions for 3 sets, try 15 repetitions for 3 sets. To increase intensity without changing sets or time, extend your right arm out to your right side and your left leg out to the left. Use the back of your shoulder to keep the right arm lifted and chest open. Keeping your left ankle flexed, point your left toes forward. Hold this position or do repetitions by exhaling and drawing your right elbow and left knee together. Repeat on the other side.
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