Beginner Flexibility and Strength Exercises

My prime exercise goal for next year is to compete in the Fitness Division of a bodybuilding competition.  I’m aiming for the Texas Shredder in April, but as I’ve never done this before, any competition next year will be good enough for me.  According to NPC rules, the 2 minute fitness routine must contain the following moves:

  1. Push ups
  2. High kicks
  3. Straddle hold
  4. Side splits

Right now I’m working on side splits and the straddle hold.  I have new respect for gymnasts.  I mean, I was always impressed by them before, but now I’m really understanding just how strong these people are.   In addition to working with my trainer, Melissa Merritt Coker, to do all the strength training, I’m now also meeting with a gymnastics coach, Terek Brown, once per week to work on flexibility and gymnastics.

The most important thing right now is to work on my core muscles, which have mostly been on exercise hiatus due to my surgery this July.  But my doctor, Dr. Staci Hix-Hernandez, cleared me to train, so here I go!

Oh, by the way, here is my disclaimer:  JUST BECAUSE I DO THIS, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD!!!  Talk to your doctor before doing this or any exercise program.  This blog is for information purposes only.

Beginners Flexibility and Strength Exercises

  1. V-ups.
    V ups
    V ups

    This is a sit up where you start flat on the ground and then raise up your legs and arms at the same time making a V shape.  There are different variations for arm placement as your core gets stronger, but this is where I’m at today.  This week I’m supposed to do 25 per day.

  2. Runner’s Stretch.
    Runner's Stretch lunge with Little Henry
    Runner’s Stretch lunge with Little Henry

    This is the prerequisite for side splits.  You do a lunge, holding for at least 20 seconds, followed by leaning back and stretching down over your front leg for another 20 seconds.

    Stretch forward
    Stretch forward

    You want to make sure that you move slowly and don’t overstretch, which will hurt like heck and injure you, and where’s the fun in that?  Do three sets on each leg.  *Note:  It’s probably best to do this without small children or pets around…

  3. Band Stretch.
    Band Stretch
    Band Stretch

    Put one leg out straight while the other is pulled in.  Put a band around the ball of your foot on your straight leg and pull your foot towards your chest until you feel a light stretch.  Hold for 20 seconds.  Do three sets on each leg.

  4. Straddle Hold – Beginner’s Level
    Straddle hold with kids
    Straddle hold with kids

    This is way harder than it looks!!!  Put your hands flat by your knees and just lift up your feet off the ground, keeping your legs straight.  (At this point, keep your butt on the ground, just lift your feet/legs.)  Try to hold for 5 seconds.  (Yes, it’s that difficult.  Trust me it’s the longest 5 seconds of your life.) Repeat this five times.  *Note:  In this instance, thank God for small children, because now I have an excuse to only do one of these things!  Yikes!

How about you?  Do you do any stretching?

Lisa ;) (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.


15 thoughts on “Beginner Flexibility and Strength Exercises

  1. Have’ntbeen reading lately. But awesome! was thinking of doing a fitness competition that involved routine this year. Was’nt sure if I could just go in and juggle stroller, kids and dog. Thought it “should” be impressive

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