Now that my kids are back in school and I've gotten rid of whatever that virus was that kicked my butt for a while I find myself getting back into a nice groove and my thoughts have turned to planning my workouts for the new few weeks. That's where Core Challenge comes in.
One of the things that I noticed during my recovery from foot surgery is that even though it was only my foot that got cut open, everything else has been affected by it. I've pretty much determined that year is going to have to be considered a "building year." My longest ride this season has been only 42 miles and the century I've registered for is next weekend. There's been big-time adjustments made to my expectations and my planned ride in terms of distance. I had no idea that a foot would take such a huge toll on everything and no one expected my recovery to take this long (and it's still going... hello twice a week PT!). One thing that I've noticed that has suffered is balance. From my foot, yes, but also from my core. So I'm determined to remember to do my foot strengthening exercises (and to schedule them on my calendar or else they won't happen) and commit to regular CORE work. I figure I can't be the only one that's thinking about this either so I thought I'd make it a blog challenge and invite you along too. So if are interested in building a better core to help power everything you do please join in at any time!
Core Challenge - October 2010
Add these core movements onto the end of any cardio or strength session. If you want to do this on its own and your body isn't already warmed up do some marching in place or take a walk around the block first to get the blood flowing and then proceed to this core challenge. Perform this core sequence 3-4 times a week leaving at least one day in between each session to give muscles a chance to recover.
Through all of these remember to b.r.e.a.t.h.e and keep your core active and engaged throughout the movements. Hold each exercise for a shorter amount of time the first few times you do this, especially if these moves are new to you and increase the time in the movement as you get stronger and increase your muscular endurance. Remember always to listen to your body. Some days you will be stronger than others.
1. Alternating Spinal Balance
On all fours, your hips are stacked above your knees, shoulders are over your wrists. Extend the opposite arm and opposite leg keeping your core engaged. Your back foot is flexed and active. The shoulder blades are back and down so that you are extending from your rib cage rather than from your arm socket. Hold for 5-20 seconds, lower down and repeat on the other side.
2. Plank (Forearm or Straight Arm)
Shoulders stacked over wrists, elbows are in a microbend, spine is in neutral alignment, core engaged so that hips don't sink towards the ground, shoulder girdle strong and active. Hold for 15-90 seconds.
3.Bridge or Lying (Supine) BOSU Bridge
Knees stacked over ankles, lifting the hip up towards the sky. Chest is opening, weight is in the feet and part of the shoulder in contact with the floor (weight is not in the neck). Hold for 10-60 seconds.
4. Bridge Leg Lift or Lying (Supine) BOSU Bridge Leg Lift
Form pointers are similar to the bridge pose above. Arms on the thighs for the first variation as in the previous pose. Arm extended upward is another variation that requires more balance as you have a narrower base of support. Choose what feels right for you. Hold for 5-40 seconds. Lower down and rest for a few breaths and then repeat with the other leg.
5. Bent Arm Side Plank - 45 seconds each side
Shoulders over elbows, hips lifting up in one line with your feet and head, extending the crown and feet towards opposite sides of the room. Shoulders down and back and upper back active. Legs are strong as the side of the lower foot and forearm presses into the ground. Keep a neutral spine.
6. Bicycle or BOSU Bicycle
This is an advanced pose (especially if you are using a BOSU) so feel free to only lift one thing at a time (only the arm/shoulder blades OR the leg) until you are more comfortable with the move and gain core strength).
Opposite arm and leg lifting and reaching towards opposite ends of the room. The core is strong and the back is our foundation grounding into the floor. Neck is relaxed. Remember to breathe through this as there's a tendency to hold the breath. Hold for 5-10 seconds each side.
7. Elbow Plank Alt Leg Lift
Shoulders blades hugging the spine, and moving away from the ears. Shoulders stacked over elbows (my elbows should be a little more forward than in the photo). Establish forearm plank first with toes of bothfeet on the floor a comfortable distance apart. Lift on leg up to hip level, keeping the leg active, foot flexed. Hold for 10-60 seconds. Lower down. Come to rest on your belly until you catch your breath. Repeat on the other side.
Core is strong holding the upper and lower body in a V shape. Chest is expanding up, shoulder blades are back, crown and legs lifting skyward. Front thighs (quadriceps) are active, if knees are bend, hands can be behind the knees, if legs are extended arms radiate forward. Hold for 5 - 60 seconds.