Fitness: Core Exercises with an Enlarged Spleen (cont.)

4. Plank (primary muscles are back, abs, and legs):

    a. Lie on your belly with your forearms flat on the floor alongside your shoulders.
    b. Lift your hips off the floor with your back straight so that you are resting on just your forearms and your toes.
    c. Focus on the muscles in your hips, abs, and low back (those are your core muscles working).
    d. Hold for five to six seconds.

5. Modified Plank (If you can't do the plank in #4 above, try this modified version.):

    a. Start in the same position as the plank.
    b. Lift only your torso off the floor so you are resting on your forearms and your knees.
    c. Hold for five to six seconds, again focusing on the core muscles.

6. Side Bridge (Primary muscles are obliques in the abdomen and spinal muscles.):

    a. Lie on your side, leaning on your elbow and forearm.
    b. Lift your body off the floor so you are resting on your forearm and side of your foot.
    c. Hold for five to six seconds.
    d. Repeat on the other side.
    e. You can make this harder by lifting up on your hand instead of your forearm.

7. Side Bridge Advanced:

    a. Repeat the side bridge as above but lift the upper leg (the one on top) straight up.

8. Glute Hold or Wrestler's Bridge:

    a. Lie on your back with hands at your side or across your chest.
    b. Put a rolled-up towel under your neck if you need support.
    c. Squeeze your gluteals (buttocks) and abs and then lift your hips off the floor.
    d. You should be holding your body up with your shoulders and heels on the floor. Stop the exercise and stretch your hamstrings if the back of your legs cramp.

9. Alternating Crunch:

    a. Lie on your back with knees bent, hands along side your head.
    b. Crunch your torso up slowly, and lift your legs off the floor.
    c. Twist your torso so that your right elbow moves toward your left knee while you pull your left knee toward the right elbow. You are attempting to touch the left elbow to the right knee. Then repeat the other way.
    d. For an easier version, you can do these while sitting on the end of a bench.

10. One-Leg Balance:

    a. Stand on one leg while keeping the abdominals contracted and hands behind back.
    b. Bend forward until your torso is parallel to the floor.
    c. Return to starting position.
    d. Remain still while doing this and feel the muscles throughout the abdomen, sides, and back.
Core exercises can also be done with a physioball (those big colored balls you see in all the gyms). Here are some terrific core exercises with a ball.

1. Knee Drops:

    a. Lie on your back.
    b. Lift your legs with the ball between your feet, knees bent.
    c. Drop your knees slowly to one side trying to keep your shoulders flat on the floor.
    d. Engage the abdominal muscles and lift the knees back up and over to the other side.

2. One-Leg Balance:

    a. T
    Last Editorial Review: 12/21/2006

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