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Lying-down exercises.

Editor's note: if too much walking gives you corns on your toes, and proper shoes don't help, you can still get into the fitness mode. These exercises, chosen to spare your feet, are taken from Dr. Bud Getchell's new book, The Fitness Book, published by Benchmark Press, Inc. Nothing is kinder to the feet than losing some weight while shaping up. f there is a must" in every muscular strength and endurance program, it is an exercise to strengthen the abdominals, which are difficult to use in many everyday activities. However, these muscles help support the back and various parts of the upper body. They also play a prominent role in maintaining posture and holding in stomachs. Many experts now believe these muscles are the key foundation for all activity and must be kept in good shape at all times. Biomechanics research has shown that in most activities, force must pass through the center of the body. An athlete or fitness participant who has a weak midsection will be unable to apply the required forces necessary for good performance. For years, the bent-knee sit-up was used extensively. Now researchers suggest variations of the sit-up that are more effective for working and strengthening the abdominals. The following exercises represent ways to strengthen your abdominals and trunk muscles. In all sit-up types of exercises, it is important that you lift your shoulders before you lift your lower back off the floor. The preceding leg-stretching exercises serve to loosen, stretch, shape, and strengthen a major muscle group. Although these exercises were developed for stretching before and after a conditioning workout, try to use them whenever you get the opportunity. Stretching is a form of relaxation -it can help you avoid tight muscles any time, and it may even refresh you. Try to avoid bobbing or forcing your body into unaccustomed positions. If you haven't been exercising regularly, it will take time before you can stretch some of those tight muscles completely.

Low-Back Stretcher Purpose: To stretch and loosen the lower back and hip

flexor muscles. Starting Lie on your back with knees straight. Position: Movement: Pull one knee to your chest. Grasp the leg

just below the knee and pull the knee toward

your chest. Hold for five seconds. Then curl

your shoulders and head toward the knee. Hold

for five or more seconds. Return to starting

position and repeat exercise with other leg.


Side Leg Raises Purpose: To strengthen and stretch the lateral hip

muscles. Starting Lie on your right side, in extended position, Position: with your head resting on your right forearm

and hand. Movement: Raise your left leg upward from the floor

(keeping the knee extended and toes pointed

away) to a position well above the horizontal,

then return to starting position. Keep your

pelvis perpendicular to the floor. After completing

the repetitions for one side, repeat the

exercise on the other side.

Leg-Overs Purpose: To loosen and stretch the rotator muscles of

the lower back and the pelvic region. Starting Lie on your back with your legs extended, and Position: your arms extended at shoulder level palms up). Movement: Keep the knee extended as you raise your leg

to a vertical position (point your toes). The

opposite leg should remain on the floor in

extended position; keep the back of that leg on

the floor. While keeping your shoulders, arms,

and back on the floor, reach with the vertically

extended leg across your body to the extended

opposite hand. Stretch to touch your toe to the

floor in the area of the extended hand, then

return your leg first to the vertical position and

then to the floor. Follow the same procedure

with the other leg. Repeat the complete


Arm and Leg Lifter Purpose: To strengthen and stretch the extensor

muscles of the back and hip. Starting Lie face down (prone position) with your Position: arms extended over your head and your legs

extended. Movement: Raise your right arm and left leg, toes pointed,

simultaneously, and keep them extended for a

few seconds. Then return to the starting

position. Now raise the left arm and right leg

simultaneously. Alternate. Do this exercise

slowly. Be sure not to overextend. Do not jerk

your legs and arms.

The Abdominal Curl Purpose: To strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles. Starting Lie on your back with knees bent and feet Position: flat on the floor. Movement: Put your hands behind your head, elbows pointing

ahead. Avoid pulling on the neck. Raise the

bent knees toward the chest so thighs are

perpendicular to the floor. As you curl up, bring

the right elbow toward the left knee. Then

bring the left knee back toward the right elbow,

then the left elbow to the right knee. Repeat

this six times to each knee. Do three sets.

The Abdominal Crossover Purpose: To strengthen the abdominal and trunk muscles. Starting Lie on your back with left knee bent and left Position: foot flat. Movement: Cross the right leg and place the right ankle on

the bent knee. Put your hands behind your

head, elbows out. Avoid pulling on the neck.

Curl up and twist your trunk so your left elbow

touches your right knee. Lower slowly. Do this

six times. Switch and repeat-right elbow to

left knee, six times. Do three sets.

The Half Sit-up Purpose: To strengthen the abdominal and trunk muscles. Starting Lie on your back with your knees bent at Position: approximately 90 degrees and feet firmly flat

on the floor. Movement: With your arms extended and pointing

straight ahead with palms down, raise your

shoulders off the floor as you slide your

hands up your thighs. Your wrists should go

beyond the knees. Lower slowly and relax.

Do this six times. Rest for one minute. Then

repeat two more times after a short rest for a

total of three sets.

The Full Sit-up Purpose: To strengthen abdominal and trunk muscles. Starting

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat, and Position: arms at your sides. Having someone hold

your feet or placing them under a firm support

is no longer recommended. Studies show that

supporting the feet, even though the knees are

bent, tends to involve the large hip flexor

muscles more than the abdominals. Movement.- A full sit-up entails contracting your abdominals

as you curl your back and raise your

trunk until your lower back is at least perpendicular

to the floor. Then lower yourself back

to the floor. You may have a problem at first

doing a sit-up without support for your feet.

It is acceptable to grasp the undersides of your

thighs to help pull you up.

As you get stronger, try not to pull on your

thighs. By having your hands near your thighs,

you will find it easier to balance and curl your

trunk to the vertical position.

Do six, rest, repeat two more times.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:for those with sore feet
Author:Getchell, Bud
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Previous Article:Marketing fitness with the President and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Next Article:Physical fitness by mail.

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