You hear about the importance of core work for runners preached repeatedly.
In all honesty, I am somebody who would rather run two extra miles than take 20 minutes to work on my core strength. I know, I know, not the same thing. Lately I've been focused on becoming a better- stronger runner and I don’t like to do things half-assed; I want to pursue excellence in the areas of my life that mean the most to me. My workouts have changed significantly this year from having a singular focus on running, to incorporating a lot more swimming and cycling in there as well. The one thing that has improved significantly (thanks to help from that trainer guy) is my strength training routine and a little more focus on core work is a major part of it, because like most of the world, I have under-developed core strength. You can add core exercises into a total body strength training routine or do them as their own workout. Ideally, I try to do 2-4 core workouts per week. I like to do a few shorter core workouts on my own and then let that trainer guy incorporate core-focused exercises into my weekly strength training workouts.
Here are just a few of my favorites lately....
1. Flutter Kicks I always feel like I can do this one for days. I think I really just like things that allow me to lay on the floor and fully engage my core for the movement. haha I aim for 3-4 rounds of 45-60 seconds of this movement.
2. Planks. Despite my deep hatred of planks and all things that require significant strength, planks admittedly work my core like no other. They require core for stability, making them a great move.
3. Bicycle crunches. Yeah, I know, you were expecting that I’d know of some revolutionary core workout that didn't involve crunches, but I honestly love bicycle crunches. Once again I go for 3-4 rounds of 10-15.
4. Reverse crunch. This one really targets the lower abs for me and instead of using momentum to keep this movement going use only the core! I aim for 3-4 rounds of 10-15 reps.
5. Bench V-Sit. I recently started incorporating this move into my workout and I have worked up to holding a 10lb dumbbell between my feet. The added weight just adds intensity and a challenge to doing the V-sit. I literally do this one on my couch while I watch a movie or something! I go for 3-4 rounds of 10-15 reps.
6. Captain’s chair knee lifts. If you have access to a gym, this is nifty little piece of equipment. My favorites are knee lifts using the core.
7. Jackknife. Whoa!! I couldn’t believe how hard this one was when I first tried it so I have kept it in my core-workout rotation ever since. Sometimes I do it with a weighted ball, sometimes I don’t, and either way it’s great. 3-4 rounds of 6-8 reps of this move is where I am at right now!
8. Cable Core Rotation. Ok, I learned this one from that trainer guy (shh don’t tell him I actually pay attention). This is a great way for me to add a daily strength workout. The key for me on this one is really focusing on engaging my core.
For someone who finds many many ways to avoid a core workout (umm, yes, I had to wash my hair that morning instead of doing core work) I apparently have a lot (but not enough?) of moves in my rotation. While I could spend at least an hour doing an upper body or leg workout, I find it hard to even come up with 15 minutes for core, I always find an excuse. That needs to stop. I really need to plan ahead so I'm not getting bored or making excuses and go back to squats or something. ha.
Alright, enough from me.... time for me to put these exercises to work!