When most people think “core” they think lift the belly button up and in, or flatten the spine. They think moving the spine into flexion, such as doing a sit-up. The problem is that improving your ability to flex your spine does nothing to reflect your needs as an endurance athlete. Your 6-pack is for show, not for go.
In this series we’ll take the focus off those flexors, and focus your efforts on recruiting the deep core stabilizers that produce gains in alignment and precision movement in your spine. This section isn’t hard on your muscles, but it will tax your brain. New skills take practice, and we’ll focus on this module for a few weeks to ensure you are using the right core strategy at the right time.
Kneeling Side Plank
Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder, your knees bent straight or at 90 degrees, and your top arm reaching up to the sky. Now push your elbow and foot (or shin if on knees) into the ground so that your hips raise until you have a solid line from your neck to your knee. Pulse back down to the floor. Do 20 reps each side.
Get onto the floor with your knees on the back roller and your hands on top of the ground. Spine should be neutral and arms and thighs should be vertical, feet hovering off the floor. While keeping stable spine, extend one leg behind you so that it’s horizontal, then bring back to the roller and extend the other leg back. When you’re comfortable doing this, after extending a leg, extend the opposite arm out until horizontal. Now lower your knee back to the roller and hand back to the ground. Continue alternating sides for 2 minutes total.
Ball Band Twist
Wrap one end of a band around a squat rack or door knob. Now hold a stability ball in front of you as you face perpendicular to the attachment point of the band, and hold the other end of the band in the hand farthest away, such that it passes over the stability ball with your hand holding at the ball’s widest point. We do this to increase the leverage of the resistance to target your core. Spread your legs just wider than shoulder width, and keep your hips stable. Twist your upper body (and the ball) right and left for 25 reps. Reverse your stance and hand holding the band and repeat in the other direction for 25 reps.
Inkpad Press Out
Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent up at 90 degrees. Next, wrap a TheraBand around your feet so that it pulls into the middle and hold both ends firmly in your arms. Imagine that you are on a giant ink pad with a lot of pressure in your midback and pelvis and less pressure in your low back. The goal is to maintain this position, with equal pressure on your shoulders and pelvis, as you press your feet into the band and away from you, either with both feet or alternating one at a time. Do this continually for 2 minutes.
Keep the core stabilization gains going with Jay Dicharry’s other Core Series workouts: