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Martina Navratilova Demonstrates 4 Moves That Will Strengthen Your Core

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Martina Navratilova Demonstrates 4 Moves That Will Strengthen Your Core

Even at the ripe young age of 57, Martina believes in a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating healthy and exercising. And in her book, Shape Yourself, she shares with us some of her fitness secrets:

“Whether you want to use exercise to help you lose weight, perform better, get more active than you are now, or just simply feel better, these exercises will help you do it. What I love about them is that they’re fun, not to mention convenient.” — Martina Navratilova

Being a good tennis player demands a strong, stable core – all the muscles of your torso and pelvis that support your spine. In her book, Martina compares the core to a tree trunk, as these muscles help stabilize your body as it moves much in the way that a tree trunk supports its branches.

She also points out that the biggest benefit of core training is that it develops functional fitness, because the core comes into play just about every time we move. When the core is strong, it improves control, balance, and performance, while also helping prevent injury. When we exercise our core, we also tone our abs, strengthen our lower backs, and improve our posture.

Here are four of my favorite core-strengthening moves from her book that you can work into your fitness plan:

Bun Burner

develop_core_bridge_aStart: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or other soft surface, with your feet on the floor, your knees bent, and your arms at your sides.

Finish: Press both feet into the floor and lift your pelvis. Squeeze your buttocks together, keeping your navel drawn in and your tailbone pulled in slightly to maintain neutral alignment. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Breathe naturally as you lower your pelvis back to the floor. On the descent, let your spine slowly touch the mat one vertebra at a time until your tailbone reaches the floor.

RELATED:
Rock Your Core and Abs Like Serena Williams With These 12 Bodyweight Exercises

* Do 1 set of 10 – 12 reps, three times per week.

Torso Toner

develop_core_quad_a1Start: Kneel and place your hands on the floor, with your shoulders over your wrists and your pelvis over your knees. Maintain neutral alignment, with your shoulders back and your navel pulled in. Lift your right arm and extend it forward.

Finish: With your right arm still outstretched, extend your left leg out behind you. Then do the exercise with the opposite arm and leg. Continue alternating arms and legs for the recommended number of repetitions. Be careful not to let your pelvis rock out of neutral while lifting your legs.

To make this exercise more challenging, perform it with both feet off the floor and your legs raised at 90-degree angles (“dead bug” position). Slowly extend one foot forward to intensify the exercise. Keep your abdomen drawn in and maintain neutral alignment in your pelvis.

* Do 2 sets of 12 – 15 reps each, three times per week.

Tummy Tuck

develop_core_drawingin_a_0Start: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or other soft surface, with your knees bent and your arms at your sides. Place a tennis ball or Hacky Sack on your navel (optional).

Finish: Inhale. Then, on the exhale, draw your abdomen in, without performing a crunch, to engage your outer and inner abs. (Using a tennis ball helps you see the drawing-in movement.) Repeat this breathing and movement pattern, using deep, controlled breaths, for the recommended number of repetitions.

To make this exercise more challenging, perform it with both feet off the floor and your legs raised at 90-degree angles (“dead bug” position). Slowly extend one foot forward to intensify the exercise. Keep your abdomen drawn in and maintain neutral alignment in your pelvis.

* Do 2 sets of 12-15 reps each, three times per week.

Waist Whittler

develop_core_pbridge_aStart: Kneel on an exercise mat or other soft surface. Lean forward and place your forearms slightly more than shoulder width apart on the mat. Clasp your hands together. Bend your knees and cross your feet at the ankles. Draw in your navel and maintain a neutral spine.

Finish: Uncross your feet. Place your toes on the floor. Push back, elevating your lower body and torso so that you’re in a plank position. Balance with hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release. Perform the recommended number of repetitions.

To make the exercise more challenging, lift one foot off the floor while maintaining the same body position. Balancing your feet or forearms on an unstable surface such as an Xerdisc intensifies this exercise as well.

* Do 2 sets of 12-15 reps each, three times per week.

All demonstration photos are courtesy of Martina Navratilova

Tennis Life Magazine was created by tennis players, for tennis players, offering everything a recreational players needs to perform and feel their best, both on and off the courts: tennis tips, tennis-specific workouts, tennis gear and fashion reviews, health and wellness tips, healthy recipes for athletes, motivation, tennis news, and more!

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ruth Webster

    May 7, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Love your blog!

    • Jen

      May 7, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Awwww… Thank you! It’s because of awesome tennis chicks like you that we love working on it :-)

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