Abdominal muscles support your trunk, known also as your "core." Whether you run, hike or bike trails, you need core strength for top performance and to avoid injuries. Try these exercises that focus on the lower abdomen to ensure the strong "core" needed for that tough terrain you love, called "the trail."
Lie flat on the floor with no arch in your back. Tilt pelvis up and put your hands down by your side. With your knees bent, lift your feet off the ground. Pull your knees to your chest by rolling your pelvis backwards. Your hips should lift off the floor.
Lower your legs slowly, and repeat. Try five repetitions to begin. Increase repetitions as your core strengthens.
Hanging Leg Raises
Use a pull-up bar or a Roman chair (found in most gyms). Begin with your legs hanging. Then lift your legs, keeping them straight, so that they are at a 90-degree angle with your body. For an advanced exercise, lift your legs higher, raising your feet to eye level (all the while remember, your legs remain straight). Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your legs.
Begin with a few repetitions, increasing them as you strengthen.
Hanging Leg Variation
Use a pull-up bar or a Roman chair. Begin with your legs hanging but instead of lifting your legs and keeping them straight, pull your knees up toward your chest. Release and repeat.
Though this is an easier version of the Hanging Leg Raises, it is by no means "easy." With this one, also begin with a few repetitions, increasing them as you strengthen.
Lie down on your back. Place your hands beneath your butt. Contract your lower abdominal muscles. Then slowly lift your legs up. Hold them in that position for a few seconds. Then slowly lower your legs to a few inches from the floor. Hold them there for a few more seconds and repeat as many times as you can.
Article Written By Lauren D. H. Miertschin
Lauren Miertschin earned her B.A. in liberal studies at California State University, Fullerton. Abandoning the corporate world for teaching, 11 years later she’s still at it, earning Teacher of the Year three times. She’s currently pursuing novel publications, and writes her own trail running and short story blogs.