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Entries in core (3)


I have vertigo and am unable to do sit-ups laying down. Is there another way of doing a sit-up?

Since you are asking about sit-ups, I am assuming you wish to develop your abdominals or core muscles. Core muscles are the muscles that make up your entire torso plus your gluts and shoulders. Sit-ups are not that effective of an exercise for the core, so there are plenty of things you can do instead. Exercises that have you stationary in a plank, either in a prone position or a supine position will strengthen the core including the ab muscles. Since you are constricting the muscles in an isometric way and not moving, you should not experience vertigo.  For an alternative to sit-ups, try the Roman chair or hanging rings. The Roman chair is done by supporting yourself in an upright position with the forearms and bringing the legs or knees to the abs. Hanging rings are suspended from the ceiling to provide support. The plank can be done in a prone position from the rings or the same movement mimicking the Roman chair can be done using a rolling platform, towels or gliders on the floor.

 I would recommend investing in yourself and asking a personal trainer to work with you for just one or two sessions so you can do these exercises safely and correctly.


Golf season is almost here in Chicago. What is the best exercise or exercises I can do to improve my game?

There are two things that would be very useful to improve your game – strength and flexibility. One of the world’s best golfers, Tiger Woods, spends a lot of time in the gym working on strength and flexibility. Most golfers could benefit from doing the same.

The exercises you want to do to improve your game are commonly called “sports specific.”  For golfers, baseball and tennis players, an exercise called the woodchopper is excellent. This exercise can be done with a weighted ball (medicine ball), a cable/pulley system with weights, or dumbbells. The motion of the exercise mimics the movement of the golf swing. 

To do this, start with a weighted medicine ball extended over the right shoulder and swing it down to the outside of the left foot (or behind the left knee if you have flexibility issues). You will need to bend the knees slightly and tighten the core. Do this for at least 12 repetitions. Now reverse the move and start at the outside of the left foot and swing the ball to up high over the right shoulder. Then do the same thing on the other side of the body starting with the ball high over the left shoulder and swinging the ball down to the outside of the right foot (or behind the right knee). You can vary the speed or rate that you do this and also the weight you are using to make it work better for you.

Other exercises that are beneficial for golf would involve the core. Again, use a weighted medicine ball and do a V-sit with the feet off the ground or barely touching the ground. Move the ball side to side and follow the movement with your face and shoulders. After doing a number of repetitions flip over and suspend yourself in a plank. You can be on your forearms or you can extend your arms and balance on your hands. The legs should be straight and the body should be suspended on the toes with the bottom down and belly in so there is a nice straight line from the head to the heels. After holding the plank for 30 seconds to a minute, alternate between moving yourself from the hands to the forearms for a number of repetitions. This is just one way to work the core, there are numerous core exercises and I recommend any of them. You can look up any of these types of exercises on Youtube.

To improve flexibility I would strongly recommend getting into a yoga class. I personally have problems with flexibility and yoga has helped immensely.

Good luck and keep it in the fairway!


I was told in a class that putting my arms above my head or holding a weight above my head while doing sit-ups would cause my neck muscles to over develop and give me a “football players” neck. I’m a woman and I don’t want a big neck! What’s with this?

With most exercise and when doing sit-ups or crunches, form is more important than anything else.  When you extend the arms above your head with or without a weight, you have lengthened the lever arm your abdominal muscles have to lift up. The longer the lever, the more work the ab muscles have to do to lift you up. Sit-ups are an exercise meant to develop the muscles of the core and not the neck.  Therefore, if you are feeling any stress in the neck muscles it is because your form is compromised and you are pulling up with your head and not lifting with your core. Many people do not do sit-ups correctly; it is easy to get them wrong. If you believe your form is compromised, check with your instructor or with a personal trainer.