A quick update after the beach running; I struggled for the past few days bearing weight properly so out goes my plan for this week! I made it to the gym today for arms, core and cardio.
So for arms and core, I constructed a circuit which included moves to work the bicep, shoulder, tricep, chest, upper, lower and side core muscles. My basic circuit covers what I needed and since I need to focus more on tspine mobility right now I was happy not to overload arm/core day.
After this I headed to the spin studio for Les Mills RPM. I set the spin video off for 30 minutes to test the leg out and to add some cardio to todays workout. Th good news is; my leg held out!
Core work is important to anyone, whether you play sports, run or read books in the garden. The core supports the truck of your body, keeping you upright and supported. With a poor core, back pain and back problems are more probable. Speaking from personal experience, when I stop doing Pilates and Les Mills CXWorx classes, or core exercises in the gym I find it hard to sit up in bed first thing in the morning. I also know my core is weaking when I get sciatic pains down my glutes and legs! Its amazing what a few core exercises can do!
I fully recommend Pilates for core work but I get that not everyone wants to do Pilates. I’m going to add four of my somewhat favourite* core exercises to this blog post which are easy to add into a gym plan. These can be adapted, resistance can be added but I’ll add this short video on finding the neutral spine first.
Finding a neutral spine before any core work allows the body to be correctly aligned, reduce the pressure in joints and allows the core work harder. Essentially you get more bang for your buck if you set yourself up right and work it slowly.
So here’s four basics that, when in neutral and working it slowly** instead of blasting though can really improve core strength;
The bird-dog I find this is a staple in my core work. Neutral spines are a little harder to maintain when not on the floor – the floor seems to give feedback to where you are. However, if you have a soft small ball you can place this on your lower back. The trick with this exercise is to keep the core strong, and stop rotation and movement while moving opposite arm and leg. If you place a small lightweight ball on the small of your back you’ll feel it roll and around and fall off if you’re not using your core to keep you stable.
The crunch The simple, find neutral and crunch. Effective. Side crunches, double crunches, table top crunches are great progressions
Leg raises – Its a love hate relationship. However, to note, find neutral and the second you feel you’re coming out of neutral lift your legs back up in the air. Small movements of just a few inches in neutral strengthen your core more than reaching a 45 degree angle and flexing your spine the opposite direction.
The side plank – Personally I’m not a fan of planks (probably because I’m rubbish at them!) but side planks are cool. Good for working all them side muscles… 😉 I usually stay with the adapted version, I can’t quite do the full on side plank, but I often add leg raises, or weight arm extensions to challenge that little bit more.
That’s all for now folks!
Do you do Pilates?
What’s your favourite core exercises?! Tell me below 🙂
*by favourite, I mean I’ll do them. Core day is my least favourite day in the gym. But most important.
**By slow, like, two seconds a movement.
***These are my own personal opinions and views, I am in no way qualified to teach exercise. You should always seek professional help/advice with starting new programs or doing new exercises. If you’re in a gym, ask an instructor to show you, I do. 🙂
****Illustrations taken from Workout Labs