One of the fastest ways to look taller (and leaner!) is to work on the muscles that stabilize and control your posture: your core.
Contrary to popular belief, your “core” does not just include your abdominal muscles; it includes so much more. Your core includes all the muscles that make up your so-called “inner girdle”. It includes the muscles on the front, back, and all around your midsection, extending from just below your chest to right above your knees.
Therefore, to look like you’ve grown taller and leaner, we can’t just focus on the front abdominals by doing hundreds of crunches. This workout is designed to help your body achieve optimal stabilization of your midsection, ultimately helping you stand taller, look leaner, and move better in the process.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Optimal core stability is important not only to help you look taller and leaner. It also helps you move better throughout the day, lift more weight with proper form (ever tried to do squats without a stable core?), and may even help you decrease neck, shoulder, and low back pain.
For each of the following exercises, start by completing 1-2 sets of 12-20 repetitions. The key to working this section of your body is to use a very slow repetition tempo. The longer you keep the muscles under tension, the more endurance the muscles will gain.
Think about it—the muscles of your core needs to fire all day long in order to properly stabilize your body to “grow” taller. By training the muscles using a slower tempo, you are training them to have the endurance to help support you as you stand taller and leaner throughout the day.
Shoot for at least 6 seconds for each repetition, counting slowly as you go. As you progress and get stronger, add an additional set of repetitions and slow it down even more! These exercises are great as a core workout alone, or you can add them to your normal routine for an extra boost.
To start the hip bridge, begin by lying on your back on the ground, feet flat on the floor, with knees bent. Before beginning any movement, you want to tilt your pelvis and push your low back in toward the floor, decreasing the space between the floor and your low back.
This important first step engages all the stabilizing muscles in your core. Holding your pelvis in this neutral position, exhale and slowly raise your hips toward the ceiling. Imagine peeling one vertebrae at a time off the floor toward the ceiling.
Hold this position for 2 seconds at the top, squeezing your glute muscles tightly (without hyperextending your back). Then inhale and slowly begin to lower your hips back to the floor. This is one repetition.
Progression: To progress this exercise and make it harder, try using a stability ball under your feet instead of the floor. Set up much the same as explained previously, but instead of placing your feet on the floor, place both feet on a stability ball and complete the exercise the same way.
You can also complete the bridge using one leg instead of two. Place one foot on the floor and point the other foot toward the ceiling. Then complete the exercise.
To begin the cobra, start on your stomach on the floor. Keep your head neutral (not turned to either side). Place your palms on the ground next to your body, with your pinkies next to the body and thumbs turned out. As you exhale, gently squeeze your glutes and low back to lift your chest off the ground.
Push your pelvis into the floor and lift your arms up leading with your thumbs as you lift your upper body. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together, hold your body in the upward position for 2 seconds. Then slowly inhale and lower your body toward the ground.
Progression: As you get stronger, you can make this exercise harder by placing your stomach on a stability ball and complete the exercise in the same manner or lifting your legs and upper body by focusing on squeezing your glutes.
Isometric cable hold
To begin the isometric cable hold exercise, stand with your feet perpendicular to a cable machine. Bring the arm of the cable machine so it is at the same height as your arms when your stretch your arms out to the front of your body. Select a weight with which you can complete 12 repetitions, grasp the handles with both hands, arms stretched out in front of your body.
Slowly rotate your shoulders, keeping your arms straight until your arms reach the midline of your body. Hold this position, with your arms extended for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Be sure to keep your belly button pulled in during this movement to support your spine and stabilize your core.
Progression: Use more weight or hold this exercise for longer!
For the cable row exercise, begin in a standing or seated position at the cable row machine. Select an appropriate weight and handle (the handle should allow your arms to move comfortably past your sides during the movement). Before beginning the movement, ensure your belly button is pulled in toward your spine, and your ears, shoulders, and hips are in alignment.
Initiate the movement by squeezing your shoulder blades down and together (try to imagine pinching a pen on your back using your shoulder blades). Then pull your elbows past your body and squeeze for 2 seconds before returning to the starting position.
Progression: Use more weight or complete more repetitions! To add even more challenge, try adding a reverse lunge to the movement. Start by standing in front of the cable machine. Step backward into a lunge position, and hold your body just above the ground. Holding that position, complete the rowing movement. After you have completed the rowing movement, step forward. Repeat the movement using the other leg.
Total Body Grow Tall Workout
This exercises work great alone, but also integrate well into a total body workout. Try to complete this total body workout using 1-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
1. Ball Squats
2. Chest press with cables
3. Cable row
4. Hip bridge
5. Shoulder press
7. Isometric cable hold
8. Biceps curl
9. Triceps extension
10. Plank hold
I hope you enjoy these exercises to help you grow taller. Completing these exercises will help to stabilize your core, helping you stand taller and leaner throughout the day.
For even more benefits, practice holding your belly button in toward your spine whenever you remember throughout the day. In no time flat you will be standing taller and looking leaner! Everyone will want to know how you did it!