Exercise Your CORE!
Think of the core as not just your abdominal muscles but the whole mid section of your body, including the hips and back. By strengthening these muscles you can achieve greater stability through the pelvis and trunk when running and riding, which translates to better efficiency and more speed. Having a weak core when running and riding is like trying to shoot a canon from a canoe, where every stride or pedal stroke just rocks the hips and torso because there’s no stability to brace against. Not to mention, strengthening your core can help alleviate dreaded back pain and help guard against injury.
What You'll Need:
- A yoga mat or a soft surface like carpet or some grass
- If you want a challenge, a heavy item to hold in your hands during the Russian Twists (2-15 lbs)
Perform the first exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and then move to the next exercise and repeat. Start by going through the full circuit twice to make a 10-minute session. Once that feels easy, do 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off for each exercise. Increase to 3 sets of 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off.
- Plank: ‘bows and toes, that means start on your elbows and toes, feet hip width apart and elbows directly below your shoulders. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes and hold this position while keeping your body in a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Direct your gaze about a foot in front of you. Also, remember to breathe.
- Reverse Plank: Just like the traditional plank, but eyes to the skies. Start with your elbows beneath your shoulders and your heels on the ground; straighten your body and hold.
- Side Plank (alternate sides): Start on one elbow and the side of one foot, with the other foot stacked on top, so you’re facing sideways and your body is in a straight line, then hold. Make sure your elbow is beneath your shoulder and your butt is in line with the rest of your body, vertically and horizontally. To add a little extra challenge to this, raise your knee up and down like you’re running or pedaling with one leg.
- Russian Twist: Start on your butt. Lift your legs up to 45 degrees, taking a slight bend in your knees, and bring your torso to the same angle (making a V shape with your body). Either hold an object between your hands, usually a medicine ball, or simply press your hands together and rotate them from one side to the other, rotating your torso with them.
- Bird Dogs: Start on your knees and hands, with a flat back and a neutral pelvis. Raise your opposite hand and foot and extend each away from your body to be in line with your torso, hold for a moment, keeping your hips and torso neutral and then switch sides.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Each movement should be done slowly to maintain control and to allow your core to activate to its full potential.
Alright Runner and RiderBox Fam: Stay Inside. Stay Motivated. Stay Moving.
**This article is not a prescription for injury rehabilitation, if you have an injury seek the attention of a physical therapist. Perform these exercises at your own risk.