Work It Out Wednesday

Hey everyone…I’m baaaccckkk! It’s Keith again and I hope everyone is ready for Work It Out Wednesday. For anyone who missed it, I am Kelly’s better other half and every Wednesday afternoon I do a guest post on the importance of strength training. To read more about me and my qualifications go here.

Today, I want to focus on the importance of your core. When I say the word “core” what is the first thing you think of? I am betting that 90% of you instantly think abs! But really your core is so much more than just your abs and it is a lot more important than people give it credit. Your “core” are the muscles deep within the abs and back, attaching to the spine or pelvis. Some of these muscles include the abdominals, your pelvis, the lats and the obliques. All  movement originates from your core muscles and it is the body’s main source of stability. So whatever activity you are engaged in, be it running, lifting weights or picking up boxes, your “core” muscles help keep your body stable and balanced.

When I work with my clients, I like to train the body as a whole and engage the core muscles in all aspects of exercise. For example, replacing stable surfaces with unstable surfaces like using a Stability Ball instead of a Workout Bench, or standing on one leg versus two, requires the body to stabilize itself and engages the core in the activity. The basic idea is to get some abdominal and low back exercise in every time you work out. Think about your core as a muscle group that should always been engaged in every activity.

Here are some ways to incorporate functional core training into an already established workout routine:

  • Like I mentioned above, replace a flat bench with a Stability Ball when doing chest press or skull crushers
  • Try one arm bicep curls or over head press while balancing on one leg
  • Do stationary front lunges onto the round side of a Bosu Ball
  • Sit on a Stability Ball with one leg raised while doing bicep curls, overhead presses, or lateral or front raises (for more of a challenge do one arm at a time)
  • Supermans (do low-back extensions on the Stability Ball)
  • Front or Side Planks (holding for at least increments of 30 seconds up to 90 seconds)

Most gyms have a Stability Ball and you need to become friends with it! It is easily one of the most important items a gym can offer you. Or if you don’t have a gym membership purchase one for home use!

Challenge: Try switching things up and using the Stability Ball at your gym this week!

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15 Responses

  1. I have such a love/hate relationship with planks 🙂

  2. Hey Keith – thanks for highlighting that “core” inCORporates so much more than just abdominals! Core strength is so so important in injury prevention no matter what your sport of choice… but as a runner and a triathlete myself I will speak for “the rest of us” and say it makes a HUGE difference in efficiency!

    I have one of those stability ball chairs as my desk chair, and since I got that in September I have noticed an amazing difference in my posture. I try and make sure to leave at least 15 minutes a day for core work during practice… to me it’s just as important as finishing that last 400 repeat or that last hill.

    My favorite tip for core work is to just balance on one foot whenever you can! Waiting in line.. while brushing your teeth.. talking on the phone. You might want two feet on the ground while putting in your contacts, but there is a lot of just standing around time that can work double duty for you and your core!

  3. Wow… was that a novel or what? Sorry 😉

  4. My core is my least favorite thing to work… but I know it is so important to have a strong core… so I do it anyway! 😉 I recently started to do more planks and I can definitely feel the difference. Side planks are great too. However, I find that it puts a lot of stress on my wrists. Maybe I’m doing it wrong??

  5. I do SOME core work every day (ok just about every day I may have skipped yesterday). I usually just do planks and I could definitely do with changing it up, but Im pretty sure the exercises you mentioned would have me swearing like a trucker! I tried doing the “core/abs” section on my pilates dvd and I pretty much spend the entire time telling Denise Austin that I hate her.

    • It’s Kelly (as opposed to Keith) and I just wanted to tell you that your posts on my blog CRACK me up! I always look forward to your witty remarks!! 🙂

  6. I love the stability ball! Thanks for the new ideas!

  7. great tips girl!! i dont use the stability ball NEAR enough-so i will start having to do that!

  8. Ugh… I don’t like doing anything “unstable” because it makes things SO much harder! Whiiiich is probably why my core is neglected. It’s one of those things you don’t want to hear but you need to do it… Awesome advice 🙂

  9. Thanks, Keith! I’ll tell ya — one back injury a few years ago made me realize how much of my core that was.

  10. One thing I love about the core—it gets worked in so many lifts that I dont even really have to work it too much besides the occasionally plank. My abs were sore are doing pull ups the other day. They really are engaged all the time.

  11. I am a huge fan of the stability ball and bosu ball. Of course, I also love when I feel my abs engage in other moves like pull-ups or chest presses.

  12. […] That’s it for me peeps! Keith will be back this afternoon for round three of Work It Out Wednesdays! To see what you missed last week go here! […]

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