Tag Archives: core exercise

Strengthen Your Core with the Inverted Balance Plank

4 Dec

Want to try a challenging, isometric core-strengthening exercise?  Next time you train, add the Inverted Balance Plank to your workout.

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back, legs straight and feet together, arms folded across your shoulders.  To begin the exercise, elevate your shoulders and back, and legs and feet, so that you’re balancing on your butt.  Keep your shoulders and feet about six inches above the ground.  Brace your core (like you’re preparing to take a punch in the stomach) and hold that position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can.  As you are able, add more time in increments of 15 seconds.  Use this exercise as a workout “finisher.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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The “Get Back in Shape Fast” Workout

13 Sep

When it comes to exercise, there aren’t a whole lot of shortcuts — you have to put in the time and do the work.  But there are some strategies that can accelerate the process, and interval training — short bursts of high-intensity activity that build strength and endurance more effectively than moderate activity — is the way to go.

Don’t have time to go for a long run?  Can’t get to the weight room?  No problem.  There are plenty of “no-equipment required” exercises that can be performed anywhere.

Here’s the simple but effective strategy (adapted from Johnson and Johnson’s 7-Minute Workout): Alternate among exercises that work your total bodyupper bodylower body, and core.  Perform each exercise, working as hard as you can, for 30 seconds.  Allow a 15-second rest interval between exercises.

To start, try these four exercises:

  • Pushup
  • Plank
  • Jumping Jack
  • Squat

Perform each exercise, as described above (30 seconds on, 15 seconds off), as a circuit.  Do as many circuits as you are able.  As you progress, add more circuits or more exercises (in groups of four).

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Make Every Exercise a Core Exercise

19 Sep

aid10626-728px-take-a-punch-step-8-version-31This one is for my friend, Ken, who correctly noticed – and pointed out to me – that I did not publish a blog post last week.

Here’s a simple modification you can employ to engage your core during your workout, making every exercise you do a core exercise:

BRACE YOUR CORE

To accomplish this, tighten your midsection as you would if you were preparing yourself to get punched in the gut.  You would immediately tense and stiffen you core to brace for the impact. This is referred to as abdominal bracing.

Whether you’re working your upper body, lower body, pushing, pulling, jumping, etc. – bracing your core during the exercise will add a different and effective dimension to the exercise.

Although it’s a relatively simple strategy – at least conceptually – abdominal bracing takes some concentration, focus, and practice.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strengthen Your Core with the Plank

24 Aug

EX+plankcore-abdominal-and-lower-back-exercises-23[1]The plank is one of my favorite core strengthening exercises.  Most variations require little or no equipment and can be done anywhere.  Additionally, the plank works your entire core — shoulders to hips — and not just your abs.

The basic plank is done with hands (or forearms) and feet on the floor, as if you were in the pushup “up” position (pictured).  Here are several variations of the plank exercise that can further challenge and strengthen your core musculature:

  • One arm elevated
  • One leg elevated
  • One arm and one (opposite) leg elevated
  • Side plank
  • Hands on BOSU ball (flat side up)
  • Feet on physioball
  • Hands (or forearms) on physioball
  • Alternating, opposite elbow to knee
  • TRX plank with feet suspended
  • TRX plank with arms suspended
  • Weighted plank (wearing a weighted vest, or with a weight plate on your back)

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Best Core Exercise You’re Not Doing

18 Dec

DSCN0353DSCN0354The Plate Press is a terrific core exercise that’s cleverly disguised as an upper-body, horizontal-push exercise.  Once you try it, though, you’ll realize how core-intensive it really is.

To perform the plate press exercise, you’ll need a decline bench and a weight plate.  Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit upright on a decline bench, holding a weight plate against your chest.
  • Make sure your legs are securely “locked” around the bench’s padded supports.
  • Lie back until your torso is horizontal (parallel with the ground).
  • Do not let your shoulders or back touch the bench.
  • With a slow, even pace, push the weight plate away from your chest (like a bench press).
  • Repeat for desired number of repetitions.

Initially, try 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions each.  Start with a light weight plate — 10 lbs. — until you get the hang of the exercise, then challenge yourself by gradually increasing the weight.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Take Your Plank to the Next Level

20 Aug

Bridge-Plank-on-Elbows[1]At Athletic Performance Training Center, we really like the plank exercise and several of its variations.  Unlike traditional crunches and situps, the plank — done correctly — engages, strengthens, and stabilizes your entire core, shoulders to hips (and they’re easier on the back and hips).

I recently found this article titled, 47 Plank Variations for a Killer Core, which provides beginner, intermediate, and advanced level variations of this versatile, bodyweight exercise.

Check it out and give ’em a try.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strengthen Your Core with the Inverted Balance Plank

14 May
20140512_161752

APTC student-athletes performing the Inverted Balance Plank

Want to try a challenging, isometric core-strengthening exercise?  Next time you train, add the Inverted Balance Plank to your workout.

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back, legs straight and feet together, arms folded across your shoulders.  To begin the exercise, elevate your shoulders and back, and legs and feet, so that you’re balancing on your butt.  Keep your shoulders and feet about six inches above the ground.  Brace your core (like you’re preparing to take a punch in the stomach) and hold that position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can.  As you are able, add more time in increments of 15 seconds.  Use this exercise as a workout “finisher.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The “Get Back in Shape Fast” Workout

16 Apr

Bridge-Plank-on-Elbows[1]When it comes to exercise, there aren’t a whole lot of shortcuts — you have to put in the time and do the work.  But there are some strategies that can accelerate the process, and interval trainingshort bursts of high-intensity activity that build strength and endurance more effectively than moderate activity — is the way to go.

Don’t have time to go for a long run?  Can’t get to the weight room?  No problem.  There are plenty of “no-equipment required” exercises that can be performed anywhere.

Here’s the simple but effective strategy (adapted from Johnson and Johnson’s 7-Minute Workout): Alternate among exercises that work your total body, upper body, lower body, and core.  Perform each exercise, working as hard as you can, for 30 seconds.  Allow a 15-second rest interval between exercises.

To start, try these four exercises:

  • Pushup
  • Plank
  • Jumping Jack
  • Squat

Perform each exercise, as described above (30 seconds on, 15 seconds off), as a circuit.  Do as many circuits as you are able.  As you progress, add more circuits or more exercises (in groups of four).

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Challenge Yourself with the Uneven Plank Exercise

4 Nov

Want to work your entire core and triceps with one exercise? Check out this new plank exercise from strength and fitness guru, BJ Gaddour, and Men’s Health.

The Uneven Plank is “a core exercise that does double duty as a triceps builder.” To perform this exercise, assume a standard 4-point plank position, with forearms on the floor. Lift one forearm off the floor and hold it in the bottom position of a pushup. This activates the triceps and requires core strength and stability. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then repeat on your other side by switching arm positions. (I couldn’t find a picture of this exercise, but video link is attached)

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strengthen Your Core with the Plank

28 Jun

EX+plankcore-abdominal-and-lower-back-exercises-23[1]The plank is one of my favorite core strengthening exercises.  Most variations require little or no equipment and can be done anywhere.  Additionally, the plank works your entire core — shoulders to hips — and not just your abs.

The basic plank is done with hands (or forearms) and feet on the floor, as if you were in the pushup “up” position (pictured).  Here are several variations of the plank exercise that can further challenge and strengthen your core musculature:

  • One arm elevated
  • One leg elevated
  • One arm and one (opposite) leg elevated
  • Side plank
  • Hands on BOSU ball (flat side up)
  • Feet on physioball
  • Hands (or forearms) on physioball
  • Alternating, opposite elbow to knee
  • TRX plank with feet suspended
  • TRX plank with arms suspended

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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