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Today’s guest post is by Pamela Hernandez. Pamela is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and an ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. This month, she writes about how you can get a stronger core by following her 5 move sequence. Pamela is the owner of Thrive Personal Fitness. Follow her healthy weight loss and fitness tips on twitter: @thrivefit. She is ThriveFit on DailyBurn Tracker. Enjoy! – Kate
A friend of mine recently lent me her copy of the original Abs of Steel. I remember how that video used to absolutely kill me in the days when I was struggling to get fit. I don’t think in those days I ever made it through the whole workout.
When I was done I admit I had to laugh. This is the video that used to intimidate me? I barely broke a sweat. I also thought to myself, “wow, that was a lot of crunches.”
While crunches can have a place in a fitness routine, they are not the best exercise for overall core strength. A lot has changed in our world since Abs of Steel came out. We sit more during the day for longer periods of time. We have fewer opportunities to be physically active at workplaces and schools. I see a constant stream of tight hamstrings, weak backs and hunched over shoulders. Our bodies are getting weaker due to our sedentary society and it shows. For the majority of my clients, it’s not about having a six pack. It’s about being able to pick up the kids or being able to get up out of a chair without pain.
Sound familiar? We all want to look good but often feeling better is our first priority. To do that we need to focus on the foundation of the body: our core. If you’ve been doing endless crunches I want you to take a moment and reset your core training plan.
First, remember the core is involved in pretty much every exercise we do in a standing or upright position. Get in touch with it by pulling your belly button into your spine during exercises like overhead squats and standing shoulder presses or while using cardio equipment like the elliptical trainer.
Second, make sure you do a focused core work 2-3 times a week to strengthen the muscles that provide the foundation for our entire body.
Here is my 5 move core workout, designed for a strong body and firm muscles:
1) Plank (1 minute): The gold standard, in my opinion, of core strength is the place to start. If you can’t do 60 seconds, work your way up to it over time. If a standard plank is too easy, try variations such as a single leg plank or plank with your forearms on a stability ball.
2) Side plank: (30 seconds each side): Target the obliques with this variation. Too easy? Lift the leg on top up as well as the arm.
3) Wood chops (30 seconds per side): Pull high to low, either via a cable machine or with a medicine ball in hand. Focus on letting the middle of the body do the work. Your goal is to twist while moving the weight or cable diagonally across the body.
Birddogs (1 minute): Slow and controlled is the key to this exercise. Hold at the top of the movement for 3-5 seconds for an additional challenge.
Supermans (1 minute): With arms out ready for takeoff, shoulders and glutes are engaged as well as your low back.
Add this plan to your regular workout routine to keep you standing strong. And if you do want to work on that six pack make sure you add some high intensity cardio and fuel your body with the best quality fuel.
Have you tried any or all of these workout moves for a better core before?
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