WHAT: In the push up position with her feet elevated together on a stability ball, Gareth aligns her spine and engages her core to pull her legs–also connected at the knees– into a crouching position towards her abdomen. What’s she working out most? Everything! The challenge of keeping her legs on top of the stability ball while lengthening and bending them into her center engages her entire core and challenges different muscles down her front, back and sides depending on how she counteracts her weight shifting while moving. Because her body is elevated along one plane her upper body is taking more weight toning and defining the deltoids, triceps and biceps as well as the trapezius. Gareth does 15 of these exercises, takes it to the mat to do crunches or sits on the stability ball for 30 sit-ups. She then repeats the cycle 3 to 4 times.
Helpful hint: Make sure to keep your head and neck, primarily your cervical spine, aligned with the rest of your spine. Imagine all of your vertebrae strung along a taught string that travels one way out through the top of your head and the other way through the bottom of your pelvic floor. This means don’t droop your head and don’t sink into your shoulders!
Why: It’s easy, as we know from the last In the Gym correspondent Peter Xavier, to create tension and soreness in this area. What’s more is that, according to ancient Chinese medicine and the theories behind acupuncture and acupressure, Qi, or the energy flow that runs through the body and creates illness when blocked, relies heavily on posture for the energy meridians to be able to flow freely throughout the body.