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Yoga Workout – The Archer

The aim of the Archer is to work the lower abdominal muscles that often get ignored in traditional upper-ab building sit-ups. Imagine you’re squeezing — really squeezing — the juice from an orange in your lower belly as you do this exercise.

You need only your ankle weights for the Archer. Lock, load, and follow these steps:

1. Lie on your back with your right leg extended, your left leg bent toward your chest, and your fingers interlaced about 2 inches below your left knee. This is the starting position. Keep your arms straight, and press your knee into your hands.

2. Exhaling to a count of four, lift your head and right leg off the ground as you continue to hold your left knee. Lift with your lower belly muscles; don’t pull on your knee or leg to lift your body. Press your knee powerfully into your hands as you feel your lower abdominal muscles and back working. See how going from a fully relaxed to a fully flexed position really challenges your abdominal muscles.

3. Inhaling to a count of four, lower your head and right leg to return to the starting position.

Keep your feet engaged throughout this exercise to help you work your abdominal muscles. By focusing on your breathing, you can do this exercise slowly and consciously without tugging on your leg or jerking your back.

Repeat this exercise six to eight times with each leg, take a rest, and then do six to eight more repetitions with each leg.

Many people don’t know it, but strong abdominal and back muscles are as important for your overall good health as for your good looks. The abdominal center is the mother of all movement because movement from this core area empowers all other movement, including that of the head, legs, and arms. Strong abs support the integrity of many muscle groups that are necessary for having a healthy back, which makes strong abs necessary for good posture. Having a healthy back and abs go hand in hand — like love and marriage or cookies and milk, you can’t have one without the other.

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