Move: Lie face down on the floor. Keeping the ribs and pubic bone on the floor, pull your navel up off the floor. Another way to do this exercise is to move into it from a hyperextension. Start lying prone with your hands on the floor by your shoulders. Lift your body up just enough so you have your legs and pubic bone on the floor, but the rest of the torso is hovering off the floor. Pull your navel toward the spine and start to lower your body. Imagine having the next thing that touches the floor be your ribs, not your navel area—while keeping your pubic bone on the floor. This activation of the abdominal muscles creates a “House for a Mouse.” Place your hands near your shoulders. Keep your “House for a Mouse” and lift your upper body off the floor. Next try lifting only your legs off the floor, continuing to hold your “House for a Mouse.” Finish with both upper and lower body lifting together, always trying to keep the “House for a Mouse.”
Repetitions: 8 with upper body lifting, 8 with lower body lifting, and 8 with both upper and lower body lifting off the floor.
• Your pubic bone and lower ribs are your anchors. Your body will rest on these bones while the muscle between these bones (the transverse abdominis) activates, pulling the navel toward the spine (away from the floor).
• If you pull the abs away from the fl oor properly, your body will not lift up very high when you do the upper body and lower body repetitions.
• If your abs do not actually lift high enough to come off the floor and make space for a mouse, that’s OK. The focus is to activate the abdominals and move the belly button up and in, no matter how small the movement—even if the movement does not actually lift the belly off the floor.