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No More Back Pain! 3 Core Moves that Help End Aches

What is all the fuss about having a strong core? Yes, of course we all want a smokin’ hot six pack, but is there a real benefit to tightening your tummy beyond the aesthetic? Short answer: Yes. And a lot of it has to do with having a healthier, stronger center and a less achey lower back.

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Strong core muscles make it so much easier to do many of our daily physical activities—such as running errands, doing household chores, and moving every which way. When you use your core to bend, lift, twist, and reach you safeguard your lower back, shifting weight off of your spine and onto your abs and the muscles of your back.

Core exercises strengthen your abdominals, back muscles, obliques (sides), and muscles around the pelvis. But this doesn’t mean do a million crunches! That can only promise a sore back. What should you do instead?

Here are three exercises to do daily as you work toward a stronger core and a happier lower back:
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5 Yoga Poses Sure to Flatten Your Tummy

Yes, yoga brings about amazing mental and emotional benefits, but if we’re being honest, we all just want long, lean muscles and a super flat midsection. Ditch the crunches and let your yoga poses help you get there! Inspired by the recent Shape magazine video, these five moves target all the muscles in your abdomen and include a bit of cardio to burn fat and showcase your hard-earned, rock-solid core.

1. The Plank Slide

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We all know a plank is the ultimate total body toner that blasts every muscle in your core, but have you tried the plank slide? Hold your plank like normal, except your hands are on your sticky mat and your feet rest on a blanket (*note: this must be done on a hardwood or slippery floor!). Then, use your core to keep your legs straight while sliding them up toward your hands like a forward fold. Slide your legs back to your starting plank position. It’s like cleaning your floor while working your core!

Bonus super challenge: try the plank slide with one leg up in the air at a time!
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Finish Summer Strong with a Beach Ball Workout by Patricia Friberg

Award winning fitness guru Patricia Friberg has shared a hot new beach workout for the home stretch of summer. The Beach Ball Workout strengthens the glutes, abs, thighs and arms, and all you need is a beach ball—a beach doesn’t hurt either.

You’ve gotta mix up your fitness regimen if you want to avoid the workout doldrums. So seek out a sunny spot and try this great new workout from Patricia.

Beach Ball Lateral Squat

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Benefits: Tones the bottom, inner thigh, legs and waistline. This is a one stop shop for exercises.

Set up: Wide stance with legs, holding the ball in the hands. Draw the abdominals inward and upward.

Step 1: Hinge at the right hip and bend your right knee. Take the ball down to the ground by your right foot. Firm the right glute and keep your abdominals drawing in.

Step 2: With the strength of your right leg, push into the ground to straighten the leg and lift the ball up and side bend to the left. 12 reps each leg.
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Try Daryl Conant’s Ab Inferno for a Scorching Summer Workout

Daryl Conant, exercise physiologist and author of Buff Daddy, has shared his Ab Inferno workout with DietsInReview, and this one makes you really feel the burn. Using only ab mallets and a lumbar pad, Daryl employs simple body contortions to strengthen all the muscles in your core.

View Daryl Conant's Ab Inferno Slideshow

Considering Daryl’s impressive resume, this workout is one you should adopt immediately. A former U.S. Olympic Committee strength coach, Daryl is a bodybuilder with two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s in education with an emphasis on exercise science.
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Saturday Morning Drill: Power-Packed Yoga Poses for a Summer-Ready Body

Blooming flowers, singing birds, and warmer days are welcome reminders that summer is right around the corner. But, if you have yet to shed your winter wardrobe for fear of exposing your non summer-ready body, thoughts of tank tops and bikini bottoms might have you wishing it were still November.

The following yoga poses will help tone your arms, core, hips and thighs so you can sport a fit summertime physique.

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Plank Pose

Better than doing a bench press, practicing plank pose tops the list as one of the best yoga poses to do for overall strength and tone. Practice at least one set of plank every day, and work up to holding your plank for up to one full minute. If you need to modify, practice plank pose on your knees until you can work up to practicing it on your toes.
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