Massage & Bodywork


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Everyone can benefi t from a strong core, especially massage therapists. Strengthening and stability exercises help take pressure off the spine and protect against the forces exerted during massage sessions. This core stability helps maintain balance, posture, and positioning. The most important thing to remember when training the core for strength and stability is to avoid using momentum. Instead, focus on properly engaging the entire core. STABILITY The following stability exercises can be used with or without a stability ball. Begin by using your body weight and try incorporating a stability ball as you progress. Dead Bugs This exercise not only stabilizes but also strengthens the upper and lower abdominals. Begin by lying on your back with your feet in the air and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Reach your arms straight up and hold a stability ball between your hands and knees. Remove one arm from the ball and extend it above your head, simultaneously extending the opposite leg. The other arm and leg will hold the stability ball in place. While extending, inhale and push your lower back into the f loor as much as you can. Then, exhale when you return your hand and knee to the ball. Focus on your breath and brace your core. Alternate with the opposite side, performing two sets of eight on each side. Plank with Knee-Ins For beginners, start with a basic plank with your hands and feet on the ground to perfect a plank position. As you progress, you can place your feet on a stability ball in an elevated plank position. Start lifting one foot at a time off the ball into a single leg knee-in. The strategy here is to be slow and controlled when alternating legs as they lift off the stability ball. Focus on drawing your navel in toward your spine, squeezing your quads, and push into your fingertips rather than your palms/wrists. Perform 2–3 sets with a 30-second rest in between. STRENGTH The following strength exercises require the use of a stability ball. Stir the Pot Start in a kneeling position with a stability ball in front of you. Drop your hips forward with your forearms positioned at the center of the stability ball; maintain a neutral spine. Begin pushing your elbows and forearms in a clockwise position—"stirring a pot." Brace your core throughout the movement. For a challenge, reverse the motion, going the opposite direction. Keep track of how many circles you achieve and aim for more each time! Oblique Crunch Begin by sitting on a stability ball; walk out your feet so your back is f lat on the ball. Position your hands behind your head for support—be sure to lift using your core rather than your neck muscles. Raise your top half into a crunch and push your feet down into the ground. Come up to where your elbow can twist to meet the opposite knee. Inhale as you come down, and exhale as you come up for the twist. Alternate sides with each oblique crunch. Repeat 5–8 crunches per side. Marisa Savino is a New Jersey-based massage therapist and fi tness professional with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and psychology. Combining the knowledge of these two disciplines allows her to help prevent injuries and be better able to address the whole health of a client. Learn more at msfi and follow her on Instagram triss. 96 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 2 FITNESS MINUTE VIDEO: "CORE EXERCISES FOR BETTER MASSAGE SESSIONS" 1. Open your camera 2. Scan the code 3. Tap on notification 4. Watch! Core Exercises for Better Massage Sessions By Marisa Savino, LMT, and Personal Trainer Dead Bugs Plank with Knee-Ins Stir the Pot Oblique Crunch

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