Abdominal hip raises are a great core exercise for stretching the upper legs and hip joints. If done on a regular basis, core exercises like these make the muscles of your midsection more firm and compact, taking size from your middle.
Even though the hip raise is good for people trying to tone their butt and legs, it also is a good exercise for weight loss.
This body weight exercise requires you to activate many supporting muscles throughout your body, which will raise your metabolic rate and increase the fat and calories you burn.
The bridge is a favorite core exercise designed to strengthen the major abdominal muscles that support your spine and lower back, this will create stability and hopefully lessen any back pain.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted solidly on the floor and your arms at your sides with your palms down.
Engage your abs and lift your hips and butt off the ground. Raise your hips as far as you can. Hold the pose for 5-10 seconds and return to your starting position.
Kim Demonstrating the Bridge Exercise
Make sure to keep your torso locked in a straight line doing this exercise. This will let your butt do the work, not your lower back and hamstrings.
It's a good idea to do hip raises early if you are working the lower body. This will warm up glutes and let you use heavier weights doing squats and lunges.
The Bird Dog:
The bird dog is a balancing and stability hip extension exercise that targets your entire core muscle group.
Start out on your hands and knees with your back straight.
Engage your abs and fully extend one leg straight out behind you. And then extend one arm directly out in front of you.
Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and return to your starting position.
Kim Demonstrating the Bird Dog
Try and go slow when you change sides and stay in control, keeping your back in a steady position, also keep your ab muscles engaged at all times.
The clamshell targets the glutes and hamstrings and is an excellent hip opening exercise for the runner.
Lie on your side with your legs stacked on each other and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your heels together.
Open your knees as far as you can comfortably. Your legs should look like an open clamshell.
Benefits of Hip Raises
Body Weight Exercise. Body weight exercises like hip raises are getting more and more popular in the fitness world. After years of pushing exercise machines, trainers have learned that one of the most effective workout tools is actually our own body.
Better Balance. Lifting your hips off the ground will engage your core muscles for stability. This will ultimately improve your balance.
Hip Flexibility. Leg exercises require hip joint movement which results in an increase of strength, agility, and flexibility of the hip joint flexors.
Lower Back Strength. All core exercises work to strengthen the major core muscles that support the lower back. Adding power to these supporting muscles will shift the workload and lessen the strain on the lower back.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum