Taking the workout to the back of the body

Tue May 31, 2011 8:42am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Crunches, curls and sit-ups may be standard workout fare in gyms, basements and living rooms across the land.

But the authors of a new book suggest people get plenty of that movement in their daily lives. They say to get a really strong midsection the back of the body needs to be worked.

"Sitting at desks, working on computers, waiting in traffic, we are continually contracting our abs, throwing our shoulders forward and, ultimately, shutting down the back of the body, said Dr. Eric Goodman, co-author with Peter Park of "Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence."

"If we're going to keep our posture and our spines strong, it has to be done by exercising the back of the body as the core of the body," explained Goodman, a chiropractor based in Santa Barbara, California.

The exercises illustrated in the book require no machines or equipment and take the spine as the body's center of stability. In the signature, or founder exercise, knees are bent over ankles, the body hinges from the hip joint, and movement originates in the pelvis, hips and hip joints.

"You're sticking your butt out on everything," explained Park, a trainer and owner of Platinum Fitness gyms, said. "We're aiming for the posterior chain."

Park is cycling great Lance Armstrong's strength and conditioning coach. The seven-time Tour de France winner wrote the forward for the book.

"Lance needed it more than anybody," Park said of the workout. "It opened him up. (With his) rounded back, rounded shoulders he almost looked funny off the bike."   Continued...

<p>The lunge stretch, from the book &ldquo;Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence&rdquo; is demonstrated in this undated file photo. REUTERS/Elizabeth Kreutz</p>