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Want a strong core? Focus on your backside

August 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
You may think crunching and curling are the way to getting a strong core, but all of that forward movement could have you ignoring the other side of your body.

When you think about everyday life, it feels like we are falling forward - at the desk, at the steering wheel, at the plate. But perhaps in fitness, we question falling forward as well. We'll show you why the back is where it's at.

"Wherever we put our attention to creates a result, we co-create in life, right? So we are going to put some focus on our back and it is going to balance out that front and that is our intention," said trainer Gary Kobat.

Kobat has just the right moves to give the back the attention it deserves. He reminds us the body needs both sides to work properly - biceps and triceps, quads and hamstrings and, of course, stomach and back.

Kobat says we often don't give attention to our backs. So try this: With your knees over your toes, push the booty back, then stretch your hands forward and slowly raise them overhead. This "chair pose" will lengthen your spine and shoulders and really strengthen that lower back.

"Anybody can do this. We can start from scratch. This can be the first stretch and or exercise that anybody does any age, any fitness level," said Kobat.

Now add to it. Since we rotate in life, make sure you can be strong twisting and turning.

Similar to the chair pose: In a standing position, bend your knees and push the glutes back, twist with your hips to the left and then slowly over to the right side, making sure to extend your back - being mindful not to round it.

Another position called "bird dog" strengthens your core muscles. Start on your hands and knees with your back flat, extend one leg back behind you to hip level, and then raise the opposite hand. Keep your shoulder over your hand and your hip over your knee. Repeat on the other side.

Finally, remember the plank. Not only will it work your core, but it works your back too. See how long you can hold the position. Work to increase it by 10 seconds at a time.

These are all great moves, but Kobat says add, don't replace.

"It doesn't mean stop yoga, it doesn't mean stop Pilates, it doesn't mean stop your indoor cycling class, it means add two just for about 15 minutes every other day to just serve your backside," he said.

For more on the back of the body, you may want to pick up "Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain and Move with Confidence" by Dr. Eric Goodman and Peter Park.

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