Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday exercise: chest lift

I love abs.  I may not love ab exercises, at least not in the moment, but abs are wonderful.

The basic ab exercise is the crunch.  In Pilates, it is called the Chest Lift, which is actually a better name because we really shouldn’t be crunching while exercising, unless we are eating popcorn, which is best done in front of a movie rather than while trying to work.  (Persistence is key when you fall into a sentence like that!)

The exercise begins Lying Down.  Everyone loves lying down!  Even lying down, form is important.  You will want to bend your knees and place your feet in line with your sit bones.  Your spine should feel relaxed, not smooshed into the floor.  Leave a little tunnel under your lower back for passing ladybugs.  If the tunnel is big enough for an iguana, you will need to lower the ceiling.  You will want to support your big heavy head with your hands, keeping your elbows where you can see them; those elbows get up to no good when unsupervised.


Now we are ready to work.  As you exhale, use those abdominals to pull your breastbone down toward your toes.  This will, as a side effect, lift your head off the floor.  Thinking about the exercise this way will help keep your chest safe from evil chin incursions, which will keep your neck safe from excessive flexing.  Since you are a wonderful multi-tasker, you can also think about keeping your abdominals flat and spread out across your body to avoid that little bubble that tends to pop up like an alien fetus.

Curl back down.  Breathe more.

There are lots of variations on this theme, but this is the basic place to start.  Sets of 10 are good, but you know your body; do what works for you.

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