This weekend’s exercise is a simple leg lift that strengthens your lower abdominal muscles, but it’s unique in its method. It utilizes the hip flexors and lower back to work the hard-to-target muscles around the belly button. The Lower Abdomen Toner also helps to correct anterior pelvic tilt.
Let’s start by taking a close look at the hip flexors and their role in abdominal strength and bone health.
The lower abs can be challenging to activate. Sitting, especially for extended periods of time, contributes to weak lower abs and causes the hip flexors to adapt to the seated position by becoming chronically shortened. Then the hip flexors lose the strength and flexibility to function optimally.
In turn, these issues can bring about an anterior pelvic tilt, where the pelvis tips forward, causing the glutes to poke outward. This weekend’s exercise counteracts this “swaybacked” position by flattening the lower back.
Because prolonged sitting is so prevalent in modern society, engaging the lower abs and hip flexors needs to be done deliberately in exercises like this one because day-to-day life does not provide many opportunities for these areas to be worked.
What Do The Hip Flexors Do?
The obvious role of the hip flexors is to lift the legs up. Flexion is accomplished via muscle contraction, and it involves decreasing the angle between bones; so the closer you bring your leg up to your body (such as lifting your leg to go up stairs), the more you are decreasing the angle between your upper leg bone (femur) and pelvis.
The hip flexors’ less obvious roles include stabilizing the pelvis and lumbar vertebrae and strengthening the lower abdominal muscles. And when it comes to bone health, the hip flexors are crucial – exercising them stimulates bone growth in the hips and lower back (per Wolff’s law), two key areas of concern for many Savers.
Now let’s take a look at how to do this weekend’s challenge.
Use an exercise mat or a carpeted area.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent. Take one hand and slip it under your lower back, palm down.
- Using your lower abdominal muscles, push downward on your hand, pressing toward the ground.
- Now bring your feet up off the ground, keeping your knees bent – your shins should be parallel to the floor (making a “tabletop”).
- While pressing down onto your hand that’s under your lower back, move one foot down, touch the ground briefly, and then bring it back to the starting position.
- Repeat this about 10 times (as your fitness level allows), and then relax.
- Press down again on your hand and lift the other leg 10 times.
If you would like to continue working the same areas, but in different ways, try practicing these Weekend Challenges:
The Weekend Challenges not only work well with each other; they also work with the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System. While Savers often ask if Densercise™ includes the same exercises as the challenges, it doesn’t. But rest assured that all the exercises are intended to build and strengthen your bones, and are a vital part of reversing osteoporosis.
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Do you have any favorite exercises for your bones? If you do, or if you have any other thoughts on today’s topic, please feel free to share with the community by posting a comment below.
Have a great weekend!