We are halfway through the week of our five-part series about creating an effective and balanced workout. But we are not quite halfway through the actual workout yet. After you do this part, you'll be halfway done. The third part out of the five is core.
If you missed the first two parts, click here to go to step one.
"Core" is definitely a popular fitness buzzword. You’ve more than likely heard the term before. Before we get started I want to make sure that we clear up one common misconception, and that is that the core is just the abdominals, or six pack muscles. Sure, the core includes those muscles, but it is definitely not limited to those muscles.
The core muscles including the abs, obliques, lower back, intercostals, QL, psoas, TFL, iliacus, glutes, pecks, lats, traps, rhomboids. If you’ve read the previous two posts, you'll notice that there is a lot of overlap. Yes, I consider the glute a core muscle. I consider the rhomboids part of the core as well. So there is some redundancy built into the My Core Balance workout system. You’ve already isolated the “hips“ and "shoulders,“ and now we are going to hit the hips, shoulders, and everything in between.
Typically you will start this part of the work out at the 21 minute mark. He did hips for the first 10 minutes, shoulders for the next 10 minutes, now we will do the course for the third 10 minutes. After you finish with core, you will have completed a nice little 30 minute workout, or you are setting yourself up for a warm-up of a much longer work out. Either way, you should feel pretty good after this.
With the common misconception Of the limitation of the core being just the abdominals, one other misconception and limitation is that the court is best activated by crunches. And again, this is partially accurate, in that crunches are a valuable exercise to work the abdominals in one range of motion. But, we are three dimensional beings, meaning we need three dimensions, or planes of motion in our workouts for them to be successful.
The planes of motion that of the limitation of the core being just the abdominals, one other misconception and limitation is that the court is best activated by crunches. And again, this is partially accurate, in that crunches are a valuable exercise to work the abdominals in one range of motion. But, we are three dimensional beings, meaning we need three dimensions, or planes of motion in our workouts for them to be successful.
The front motion is one out of six directions that we want to hit with the court. The other five includ The front motion is one out of six directions that we want to hit with the core. Mechanically, this is called flexion. The other five ranges of motion that we want to get our extension, rotation to the left, rotation to the right, lateral flexion to the left, and lateral flexion to the right. Each of these ranges of motion is produced with a different set of core muscles.
In addition to the movements, we want to think of the car as being “and tire rotation“ muscles. The best way to think about anti-rotation is to think of a sprinter. If you’ve watched track in the Olympics, you have seen the requirements for a strong core with these sprinters. As you watch the hundred yard dash, you will notice that the arms and legs of the runners are moving incredibly fast, and there is almost no movement in their midsection, their cars. Don’t be deceived, though. Their corners are working incredibly hard presenting their spine and rib cage from twisting. The core is effectively neutralizing the movement of extremities.
One great analogy of the above example is thinking about boats. Imagine a huge ship pirate ship with a cannon. The captain shoots off the Canon which produces incredible force. Yet, the ship as a whole is unaffected by the blast. Contrast that to a smaller C vessel like a canoe. Imagine putting the same cannon on a canoe, and then shooting the Canon from the canoe. The canning supplies the same amount of force, yet doesn’t have the same stability in the form of a large stable ship.
This is the flaw of training the arms and legs and ignoring the core. You’re trying to build up your cannons, yet you are trying to fire them off of a canoe. Long-term this does not work.
The following core exercises include a lot of movements, and also some static isometric exercises.
Prone arm raises
Incline front raises
Cats and dogs
hip lift – assisted
Upper spinal floor twist
Sitting floor twist
Cross crawl crunches
Bear crawl position
Supine with milk
Jack Lalaine plank
Bruce Lee dragon flag plank
Bilateral hanging leg raises
And… There’s plenty more where that came from. There are thousands of core exercises. A quick search on YouTube will help you find them. However, usually they are out of context. This is where you would probably put those core exercises, after you’ve already prepped the hips and shoulders and before you get started with the “meat“ of your workout.
There are so many exercises to choose from, can I do longer than 10 minutes?
Sure, of course! This is where there is some flexibility in the My Core Balance system. Sometimes this category can go on for 40 minutes total, making it the majority of the workout. The hips and shoulders provided the warm-up, and this is the entire workout. This would especially be the case if you are rehabbing from an injury. As challenging as many of these core exercises are, most of them are very restorative in nature. You will feel fantastic after doing 20 to 40 minutes of core work from this section.
Have fun with this. These exercises require no equipment. They are easy to do in a hotel room while traveling. Alternatively, if you really want to nurture yourself, get outside and do these exercises at a park. Relax, take your time, and make sure you stay at the appropriate level for your ability until you are ready to progress to the next fitness level. Your body will tell you when it’s ready. Don’t force it, you have plenty of time.
Core training saved my life. Coming from a childhood of competitive sports, I was always injured. This type of training absolutely saved me from those injuries. I want to reiterate that this section of the workout can be a workout in itself, and you should not feel pressured to progress to the next level.
For those of you who are ready for that next level, and are ready to take the plunge into the meat of the workout, let’s move on to the next step. You are primed, not only warmed up, but every single muscle in your body is awake. Your brain, your nervous system, has a direct connection with each muscle, so that when you go to lift weights or do your interval training you are safer and more effective.
A workout's worth is in its warm up. If you’ve successfully gone through the hips section, shoulders section, and core section you can consider yourself a success. Your workout from here can be as diverse as you want to make it. There are a million different ways to get fit, and now that you’ve had the solid foundation to stand on, you can have confidence that you are going in the right direction.
If you are ready for the next part of the My Core Balance workout system, join me on the next page.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below.