Stretch yourself to health

By Vicky Hallett, The Washington Post
Posted March 03, 2011, at 6:35 a.m.

It’s not a stretch to say most men would benefit from adding yoga or Pilates to their gym rotation or that women could stand to work their muscles harder. Here, Men’s Health Fitness Director Adam Campbell suggests exercises that won’t make you look girlie or macho – just in shape.

For men: hip bridges

Women love to work their butts. And though targeting one body part won’t necessarily reduce the flab there, the emphasis on those muscles is a smart one. “Most of us sit all day and our glutes forget how to fire,” Campbell says. Men have a tendency to ignore anything they can’t see when they flex in front of a mirror, which means their rear ends are often neglected at the gym.

Do it:  Lying on your back, bend your knees while keeping the soles of your feet on the ground. Raise your hips so your body is in a straight line from your torso to your knees, really focusing on squeezing those cheeks.

For women: push-ups

It’s no secret why this classic move isn’t that popular with women. It’s really hard. But that’s true for men, too. “If you have a guy do correct push-ups, he can’t do that many, either,” says Campbell. That’s because it’s not just a test of your upper body. Proper form also demands you use the muscles around your middle (a k a your core) to keep from sagging.

Do it:  If you can’t perform the move with your hands on the ground, try elevating them on a step or a bench. “It reduces how much the core has to work, but it’s still working,” says Campbell, who notes that’s a better modification than getting on your knees, which can take too much core out of the exercise.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/03/health/stretch-yourself-to-health/ printed on December 27, 2014