Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Our fitness expert and personal trainer, Maria Ludeke, is back with tips on why it is important to stay motivated and accountable to your wellness goals by building safe, enjoyable, and effective training programs.

A well balanced workout includes core. It’s the center of your body and by building heat and strength in your abs, it warms up and protects the rest of your body for an efficient workout. Strengthening your core helps with balance, keeps your back safe, and helps you stand up straight. Training your core builds confidence and creates definition.

However if you haven’t trained your core consistently it’s important to start at a level that works for you. Common mistakes to avoid when first starting out are pulling on your neck and overusing your hip flexors. Any time your arms are behind your head, keep your elbows wide and your finger tips behind your ears. If your hip flexors are burning more than your abs, it’s best to keep one or both feet on the floor. Proper breathing is crucial to get the most of your ab routine. You want to think exhale on the contraction as your muscles get shorter (i.e. the challenging part of the move). Inhale on the release as your muscles lengthen in between repetitions.

If you’re ready to begin a home core routine try these moves in you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced.

Leg Circles, with your feet to the sky draw a circle with both feet glued together. Try to keep your legs straight. The bigger the circle, the harder it is. Keep your head and neck relaxed on the floor or a pillow. Try 5-10 reps each direction.

Bicycles to One Side, with your hands behind your head and your legs in the air with bent knees, twist so your elbow comes close to your knee. Extend your opposite leg long and then return to the starting position. Try 5-10 reps all one side before switching.

Dead Bug, begin with your legs and arms in the air. Keep your head relaxed on the floor or a pillow and your low back pressed into the floor as you extend opposite arm and leg as long as you can. Return to center and switch sides. Shoot for 5-10 reps on each side.

Apple Pickers, with both feet to the sky reach opposite hand to foot. Keep alternating, reaching as high as you can while maintaining straight legs. Shoot for 5-10 reps on each side.

Challenge Roll, with your legs up and knees bent, keep your elbows attached to your thighs and your chin tucked towards your chest as a parter pulls your feet forward towards the ground and then releases you back down to the starting position. This is very challenging, try 3-5 reps.

Build training programs to help you prevent injury, build strength and stamina, and enjoy your fitness routine. The most important part of any program is staying consistent so we want you to enjoy your workouts and focus on positive goals.

We support you reaching your wellness goals, so you can feel healthier and happier.