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Axiom Weekly Motivational Email January 18, 2013

Hello, fit people! I hope you are all staying warm and motivated with your health and fitness goals. You are at an important turning point in your journey in terms of making wellness your lifestyle and not just something you will do for a few weeks until next January. It takes a month to create a habit, "they" say, so stick with your healthy routines and believe that you can do it -- because you can!

Fitness Tips

Today's fitness tips are all about your core. This term refers to the muscles in your trunk that stabilize your entire body, prevent back pain, and maintain proper posture and mobility throughout our lives. The core consists of your abdominals and low back, with a little bit of lats and glutes thrown in for fun. As a good visualization, think of a corset around your body and that is what we are talking about.
Core strength is very important for everday body movements like leaning over, twisting sideways, and standing upright - but it is also imperative for maintaining good posture and reducing back pain due to improper movements. Luckily, there is nothing fancy about strengthing your core so use the following three exercises to help improve your strength, whittle your waist, and reduce back pain.

1. Glute Bridge - Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted flat under your knees. Slowly tuck your tailbone, push in to your heels and lift your rear end off the floor, keeping your knees hip-distance apart. Hold this position for 30 seconds and slowly lower yourself down to the ground. Repeat 2 more times. To increase the intensity, hold for a longer period of time or pick up one foot while maintaining your body position.

2. Plank - Lie on your stomach with your arms bent at a 90 degree angle under your shoulders. Tuck your toes under and use your core to lift up your body so only your toes and forearms are touching the ground. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe - do not hang your head (!) - and your glutes squeezed for proper form. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2 more times. Increase the intensity by holding for a longer time period.

3. Seated Rotation - Grab a small medicine ball that is of moderate weight. (If you are at home you can use a backpack, bag of dog food, or laundry detergent container!) Sit on your rear end with your knees bent and your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Straighten your arms and push the medicine ball out in front of your chest. Keeping your heels on the ground, twist to the right and touch the gound with the medicine ball. Immediately rotate to the left and touch the ball to the gound. Complete 20 twists (10 on each side) for 3 total rounds. Make this exercise more difficult by picking up your feet and balancing only on your rear end while twisting.

These three exercises will work the back, front and sides of your core to help improve your posture and reduce back pain. Add them to your exercise routine and complete them 2 or 3 times per week for maximum benefit.
Best of luck and have a great weekend!

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