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Strengthen Your Core With V-Shape Pose
Los Angeles Times · August 28, 2006
By Karen Voight

Increase your core strength with this modified version of a traditional Pilates and yoga exercise. At first, perform it with bent knees to help you develop necessary strength in your abdominal, lower back and pelvis muscles. As you progress, you will be able to fully straighten your legs and maintain a V shape with your body. Your torso, legs and hip flexors will be challenged as they work hard to resist the pull of gravity.

1 Sit upright on a mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly and position your hands behind you with your fingers pointed toward your feet. Lift your spine and broaden wide across your chest with your elbows bent and pointed back. Sit up on your buttock bones, not rolled back onto your tailbone.

2 Keeping your back lengthened and your chest lifted, start to tip back and slowly lift your legs in a bent position. Once you find your balance, release your arms and stretch them forward, parallel to the floor. Reach strongly from your shoulders out through your fingers without rounding your back. Keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears. Hold for several breaths, then lower your feet and hands back to the floor.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times in the "Good Form" feature of the Health Section. "Good Form" is updated with a new Karen Voight article each Monday.