Hello from New Jersey!
Yes people, even when I am away visiting my Mom on Mom’s Day, I am thinking of you all. And in many ways, many of you are mothers to me! Take it as a compliment! Believe me, I really appreciate all of the support you all have shown to Anna and I (and RBI) over this past year. It’s been a tough one.
One of the most misunderstood terms floating around the fitness industry is “Core Training”.
What is it, exactly? Well, it’s not abdominal training. Not solely anyway. Believe it or not, the abdominal muscles are the most overrated muscles targeted by most Core Training programs!
True and effective Core Training involves exercising (directly or indirectly) the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work simultaneously. The muscles of the Core make it possible to stand upright and move on two feet. These muscles help control movements, transfer energy, shift body weight and move in any direction. A strong Core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing stimuli and protects the back.
Any exercise that uses your trunk without the benefit of one-hundred percent support constitutes a core exercise. While it’s obvious to most that crunches done on an exercise ball is one example; so are compound exercises like doing dumbbell side raises while lunging. Want to increase the activation of your core muscles even more…try doing those lunges on a wobble board!
As most of you know, I try to incorporate some Core Training in all of your workouts. If you’re not sure how or you want more, don’t be shy; just ask, and I’ll be glad to oblige.
If you want to do some training on your own, here are a few things you can do with little or no equipment:
Sit-ups with a Twist
1. Start position: Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent and hands behind head. Keep elbows back and out of sight. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
2. Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominals and raise the shoulders up. As you come up twist one shoulder towards the opposite knee.
3. Return to start position and repeat with the other shoulder.
4. Remember to keep head and back in a neutral position. Hyperextension or flexion of either may cause injury.
1. Start position: Lie face down on floor with hands down at sides. You may place a rolled towel under forehead to clear face from floor.
2. Raise chest and head off floor keeping feet in contact with floor. To increase resistance, extend arms out in front like superman.
3. Do not raise head past 8-12 inches – excessive hyperextension may cause injury. To vary exercise raise feet while raising trunk.
1. Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent and hands behind head. Keep elbows back and out of sight. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
2. Start position: Hands behind head and knees bent at 90 degrees.
3. Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominals and raise shoulders off floor or bench. During the crunch, also bring knees towards chest.
4. Return to the start position.
1. Start position: Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent and hands extended towards ceiling. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
2. Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominal and raise shoulders off floor or bench. Also raise legs up towards ceiling and attempt to touch your hands to your feet.
3. Return to start position.
1. Start by placing your left foot over your right knee and place your hands behind your head.
2. Lift your shoulders up off the ground and twist so that your right elbows tries to touch your left knee.
3. Return to the starting position and repeat according to the required repetitions.
4. Repeat with the other side.
1. Lie on your back with your legs bent 90 degrees at the hip.
2. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and towards the ceiling.
3. Lower your hips to the floor and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Push-UP Superman With Alternating Arms
Starting Position: Start the movement in a plank position. Holding that position raise your right arm and left leg off of the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other arm and leg. Hold each lift for 1-2 seconds.
1. Lie on your back with your knees at chest level and your arms flat on the floor.
2. Alternate extending your legs by extending one leg out straight and as you bring it in extend the other leg out.
3. Continue to repeat this process like you are riding a bicycle until the required repetitions are completed.
4. Make sure you keep your back flat during the movement. If you are unable to keep your back flat then reduce the extension of your legs.