SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - On this Fit Friday, we're exploring three ways to make your hips stronger and improve your balance at the same time.
"Core balance is an integral part of preventing muscle imbalances," said Pam Morris of Extreme Fitness.
A strong core involves the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle. Most activities require strong abdominal muscles along with those closest to the spine to help improve performance, posture and balance.
Focus on hip extension and correct alignment with unilateral moves like the reverse lunge and one-legged dead lifts; both of those mobilize the core. Mix in reverse lunges and single-legged dead lifts to your current routine and vary bodyweight exercises with dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine balls.
Alignment cues to be aware of are shoulders down, straight back, head in spinal alignment, knees slightly bent and practicing in front of a mirror or with a trainer will also help.
Start with feet hip-far apart, shoulders down, holding hands at your side with or without weights and leave enough room to step behind you. Looking straight ahead, step back until your front thigh is parallel to floor, then extend knees and hips to stand back to starting position. Alternate legs with every rep. Try two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
You can perform this exercise with a weight, no weight or place a weight on the floor in front of you.
Holding a weight in one hand or holding with two, toes pointing forward, knees slightly bent, shoulders down, begin to tilt forward from the hips lowering your upper body toward the ground, (aiming for parallel!). You will be extending one leg behind, try to keep your gaze forward and then slowly return to starting position, keeping glutes tight and knees slightly bent.
Another variation that would also improve balance would be to have no weight and reach one hand forward toward a weight or medicine ball on the floor. Repeat these exercises while alternating legs.
Try two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
These exercises incorporate the glutes, quads and hamstrings with less stress on the knees.