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Good Form: Get down to build up

Try this challenging kneeling exercise to train your core muscles. It will strengthen your abdominals and buttocks as it stretches your back. You may find it difficult to maintain your balance at first, but if you are patient and persistent you'll improve quickly.

Begin on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Raise your right arm and extend it out in front of you with your palm turned inward and thumb toward the ceiling. Once you find your balance, raise your left leg straight behind you. Focus on keeping your left knee straight and your hips and shoulders squarely facing the floor. Pause in this position as you inhale.

On an exhalation, contract your abdominal muscles and round your back, bringing your navel to your spine and your left knee toward your chest. Bend your right arm until you can touch your right elbow to your left knee. Pause in this position and check that your left shoulder is still above your left wrist. Slowly straighten your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat 12 times. Then sit back on your heels for 20 to 30 seconds to rest. Switch sides and repeat.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."

karen@karenvoight.com

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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