Want to become a faster cyclist? Strengthen your core! Want to be a faster runner? Strengthen your core! Want to be proactive in avoiding injury? STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE!
We know you all have been prioritizing strength during the Off-Season Challenge and have developed a stronger foundation, (who hasn't forgotten the squat challenge?!), but let's give some highlighted focus this week to the powerhouse of the body--the CORE! To be clear, when referring to the core in this case, we are talking about the abdominals, back, glutes, and abductors and adductors. Provided for you is a “Core Circuit” with links that demonstrate the exercise that you can do anywhere, as well as a couple alternates or options if needed.. Go through the circuit once a day and not only earn your points, but to bask in all the glory of the steps you are taking to improve all aspects of your functional life! BAM!
Go through this list of exercises below, doing 1-3 rounds, depending on your time and fitness, of course using care and caution. When in doubt, skip an exercise if you have any concerns or pain is associated with any of the movements. Get a weekly challenge point for each day you complete this core circuit.
- Bird Dog: Down on knees and hands, hands underneath shoulders. Lift the right arm long in front of you, and at the same time lift the left leg behind you. Keep the hips level and belly button pointing down to the floor. Hold for 3 counts, then bring the right elbow and left knee close to touching, then extend back out again. Reps: 8x each side.
- Dead Bug: Dead Bug: Lie on back with both arms reaching to the ceiling and legs bent in a tabletop position. Keeping the hips still and the back from arching, engage your core and slowly reach the right arm behind you to a hover above the ground while at the same time extending the left leg to a hover above the ground. Then bring both the arm and back to where you started. Then switch sides. Reps: 8x.
- Plank with side taps: Bring yourself to a plank position up on the hands. With control and stability in the pelvis and back, bring your right foot to tap to the side, then bring it back and switch legs. 10 on each side or just hold a plank for 20-60 seconds.
- Clamshells: Glute Medius activation. Lie on side with knees bent and stacked upon one another at a 45-degree angle. Keeping your feet together, lift the top leg towards the ceiling. Don’t roll forward – slow and controlled. To intensify this, add a small band wrapped around both legs above the knee, or gently hold a 3-10# dumbbell on the top leg. Reps: 3x 15 each side.
- Superman exercise: Lie on stomach, with arms extended shoulder-distance apart, and legs hips distance apart. (If the mobility in your shoulders limit you, try extending your arms in more of a “Y” or even a “T” position). With a long neck, lift one arm up off the ground while simultaneously lifting the opposite leg off the ground. Your back should lift up in this movement. This video shows several progressions of this movement, but it is always wise to get comfortable with the most conservative movement first. Reps: 8x.
- Side Plank Hip Lift: Lie on your side holding yourself up on your forearm, elbow underneath your shoulder. Legs straight and stacked upon one another. The top hand on your side or behind the head. Lower your hips down to the floor, then lift them back up into the side plank. Reps: 8-12 each side or just hold a side plank from 10-30 seconds.