To Your Health
December, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 12)
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continued...

Up-chop /Down-Chop Kneel: This exercise develops excellent core stability and trunk rotation strength. Swimmers and runners will appreciate this exercise. For the up-chop, kneel next to a band with a handle attached below hip height.

Grasp the handle in both hands to the side of the hip nearest the band anchor. Lift the arms up and at the same time rotate the shoulders away from the band, keeping hips facing forward and arms straight. 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps, both sides.

As you might expect, the down-chop is the opposite of the up-chop. Begin with the handle attached high up above head height, grasping the handle in both hands above the head to the side of the band anchor. Keeping the hips facing front and the arms straight, pull the hands down and turn the shoulders away from the anchor. 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps, both sides.

Dumbbell Lunge-Press: Strength, endurance, balance, coordination: There's not much this one doesn't hit. With a neutral grip (palms facing toward each other) and elbows bent, hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Feet should be shoulder-width apart. As you step forward into a lunge position, press the dumbbells toward the ceiling and finish the press with palms facing forward. Step forward with the back leg while lowering the dumbbells to return to the starting position. Form is key: Make sure your front knee is aligned over the second toe in the lunge position and concentrate on keeping your torso erect, chin level, eyes looking straight ahead throughout, as if you were trying to balance a book on your head. If you have trouble doing that, reduce the weight; if that still doesn't work, switch to a single plateless barbell instead of dumbbells. 10 lunges per leg.

Medicine Ball Slams: Believe it or not, this can be a great ab exercise. Take a medicine ball and get in an athletic-ready position (knees slightly bent, ball held with both hands at lower chest level or so). Bring the ball overhead as fast as you can under control and slam it down as hard as you can. Make sure you do a few slow ones first to get a feel for the bounce of the ball, since you have to catch it. This exercise involves complete integration of the total body. It will also teach you power development from the ground up and get your heart racing. 1-2 sets of 12-15 slams.

If you haven't figured it out by now, core training is important; in fact, it should always be a part of your exercise routine. Don't be afraid of core training, even if you're a beginner. Actually, if you're just starting an exercise regimen, core training is the place to start, because it will make everything easier. Your doctor can answer any questions you may have regarding the value of core exercises and how to properly perform the exercises mentioned in this article. Now get out there and start training your core!


A Sample Routine to Tone and Tighten Your CORE
(see step-by-step descriptions throughout this article)
Exercise Repetitions Per Set Total Sets
Curl-Ups 12-15 1
Bent-Leg Knee Raises 12-15 1
Planks (toes/forearms) 60 seconds 2
Stability Ball Planks (elbows on ball) 20 seconds 3
Stability Ball Push-Ups 10-12 1
Side Bridge 60 seconds 2 per side
Arch-Ups 12-15 1
Glute Bridges (back on ball) 15-20 1
Birddogs (opposite-arm leg raise) 15-20 1 per side
Up Chop Kneels 10-12 2-3 per side
Down-Chop Kneels 10-12 2-3 per side
Lunges 10-12 1 per side
Medicine Ball Slams 10 1


Jeffrey Tucker, DC, is a rehabilitation specialist who integrates chiropractic, exercise and nutrition into his practice in West Los Angeles. He is also a speaker for Performance Health/Thera-Band (www.thera-band.com).