Everybody loves a great CORE workout! We all want to feel great in our clothes, especially around that midsection and having a lean, strong core means clothes fit better and look better plus you perform better!
A solid core also makes us feel stronger overall because having this base allows you to get more power, more strength and more endurance from your existing workouts. It’s like building a solid foundation. Think of your core as a trunk of a tree. When the trunk is solid and has deep roots, the branches (arms) can withstand more tension/wind etc. When the inside of the trunk becomes rotted and hollow it’s weak and the whole thing starts to fall apart. Same with your body. If your core is weak you will not be able to load the arms with a ton of weight! If you do, it will only be a matter of time before something in the chain breaks.
When your core muscles are weak or don’t engage, other muscles are overworked and that can lead to increased weak links in the body. Because your ‘hyper active’ stronger muscles try to take over (we call them slave muscles) they do most of the work and this is when injuries often pop up. We typically see this in lower back, shoulder and hip injuries or ‘chronic aches’ when people try to do a strength workout or ab workout without good technique.
Planks are great as are leg lifts and all those other great moves we’ve been doing forever – but again it’s so easy to cheat a plank and use all shoulders or back. So.. let’s mix it up!
Here is one CORE WORKOUT I’m pretty sure you’re not doing and it’s one of my favourite combinations because it focuses on you maintaining a stable shoulder while engaging your deep transverse abdominals and taking your body through dynamic movements (mimicking the firing pattern of most moves in sports).
In addition the Standing Leg Raise exercise against the wall emphasizes posture, engagement and alignment while standing… which is when MOST of us need our core muscles to work! It’s when we are bending over or standing up that we need these muscles to TURN on… so get off your back and try this in your next session.
1) Bear Craw Variations: Get on all fours facing the floor and lift your knees off the ground. Keep your shoulders back and neck relaxed. Bend your elbows* and keep your spine neutral and belly tucked in. Try moving in different patterns – see video.
*This is key otherwise you are just putting pressure on the joints).
Walk Legs in and Out
Walk Sideways to the Right and Back to Start
Walk in a Circle, then change directions!
Walk forwards, then backwards.
2) Alternating Arm and Toe Reach: (See video) The higher you keep the hips the more butt you are getting involved which is a bonus!
3) Standing Leg Raises against Wall: This is one of my ‘Go-To” exercises for clients who need to re-establish their core strength and function. Keep heels a few inches away from the wall and line your low back, mid back and back of head against the wall. The key is to keep a neutral spine and belly engaged as you lift the legs. If you notice your back coming off the wall you are using your low back. This exercise links gluteus, lower abdominals and shoulders. (See video)
Put it together!
TIME: Do 30 seconds of each 1/2/3 back to back then rest for 1 minute. Repeat 3-4 times.
ALTERNATE with STRENGTH Moves:
I like to alternate one of these with a traditional strength move.
For example if I am doing Rows to work my back, I will do Bear Crawls in between to balance my body.
Try it out and comment below!! Let me know how you feel!