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Today’s Workout column: An exercise to strengthen your core

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
The Chronicle Express

By Marlo Alleva

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A strong core is an absolute necessity for every body. If the core of your body is strong, the rest of the body doesn’t have to work as hard to accomplish daily tasks. Even better, a stable midsection takes a huge load off the back, which is prone to injury, aches and pains.

Today’s moves are rope-climbing crunches, and all you need is a flat surface. This exercise will be working your entire midsection, and will also be toning your arms and chest.

Begin this move by lying flat on your back. Draw the knees up, and place both feet flat on the floor. This will help press your back into the mat, and engage the midsection a little deeper. Extend both arms up into the air, as if you were going to grab a rope. Keeping a space in between your chin and chest, and keeping the neck neutral, you are ready to start crunching!

With the arms extended, proceed to lift the upper body up and off the floor by reaching hand over hand, as if you are climbing up a rope. All the while, keep the shoulder portion of your back elevated. The climbing motion will give you a sense of pulsing, just slightly deeper.

The idea is to keep the core engaged and working throughout the whole exercise. Give yourself either a determined amount of time, or specified number per set. Release the move by lying back down on your mat, taking a small break. Then, repeat this rope climb for at least three sets.

This exercise is even better if you throw on some upbeat tunes and begin crunching to the beat. You can add this rope-climbing crunch into any core routine, or perform it on its own.

Besides all of its physical benefits, who doesn’t love a strong midsection?

Marlo Alleva, a group fitness coordinator at Fontaine-Gill YMCA in Florida, can be reached at faluvzpa@msn.com.