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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Today's Core Workout

Today is sort of a rest day for me, i.e. no running or spin class, but I still like to keep my body moving so I plan to walk the bridges with my brother who is in town visiting for a few days. I also decided to do this core workout as I am really focusing on trying to tighten them back up after my twin pregnancy. Here's the core workout I am doing today, taken from Elisabeth Hasselbeck's workout which was featured in Oxygen magazine. I did one set of each exercise in order without rest but rested for a minute between each circuit. I completed 3 circuits. I tried to really focus on keeping my navel pulled to my spine through each exercise. I'm really focusing on the mind-muscle connection. It was a killer core workout. I challenge you to try it out!

1. Single-legged bridge (targets glutes and abdominals) Do both legs! This one felt easiest to me. Maybe because it was the first exercise. I was able to do 15 reps with each leg.
2. Side Plank with Scissor (targets abdominals, obliques, leg adductors a.k.a. outer thighs) In a side plank position, support your weight on your forearm and rest your top foot on a step. Keep your body straight while slowly raising your bottom leg to cross it in front of your top leg. Hold, then lower to starting position. Be sure to repeat on the other side. This was the hardest for me. I was only able to get 8 reps on the first circuit and 6 reps on the last 2 circuits. I'm hoping I'll get stronger with this one in time.
3. Plank with Leg raise (targets abdominals, glutes) Work both sides evenly. You don't want to be lopsided. I love this one. It's a nice variation of the plank. I did 12 reps on each leg for all 3 circuits.
4. Reverse Plank with Leg Raise (targets abdominals, hip flexors) Be sure to alternate legs with each repetition. I did 10 reps with each leg for all 3 circuits. I'm hoping I get stronger with this one too.

I have my work cut out for me in terms of improving my core strength but I know this killer workout will help.


  1. Great workout :)

    I forgot to recomment after the the last post, so here goes :)

    1. Please remember that when doing any "CORE" exercises, that the low back should NEVER, EVER hurt. That is a key that the abdominal muscles are not being pulled in and are getting tired.

    2. The exercise in question is often referred to in the Pilates world as Quadraped (being on your hands and knees) and then extending out opposite arm and leg. Remember to watch that the hip doesn't lift or drop, but is level with the other one. Also watch the shoulder placement, that the shoulder blades are back and down. Keep holding as long as possible, as the longer the hold, the more the abs will get engaged. :)

    3. When doing back extensions, make sure to press the pubic bone into the floor, keeps abs pulled in and LOW BACK out of the exercise. This could initially decrease one's range of motion, but again, the LOW BACK needs to stay out. Also, keep your head looking down, so that the head remains in line with the spine.

    4. The transverse muscles have no action except to act as a corset and hold everything in. They are the deepest set of abdominal muscles, under the two layers of obliques and the Rectus abdominal muscles. Focus on oblique exercises to help flatten the stomach too. Sitting in your car and pulling in your abs is a great workout, along with pulling in the pelvic floor muscles, which will get the LOW ab muscles that are so hard to reach.

    Look for any sort of Pilates based exercises to help you with strengthening your middle. I can help you come up with some Pilates exercises and meet with you to make sure that you are doing things correctly, as that is the KEY :)

  2. Thanks so much. I love all your invaluable insights. I'd love to meet with you sometime just so someone can look at what I'm doing and making sure I'm not doing anything harmful. Love the sitting in the car exercise. I'm going to try to do it all day. I have been warmed about diastasis recti but don't think I have more than a 1 or 1 1/2 finger separation so from what I've read, I am ok to do abdominal work. Do you know any differently about that? I'm definitely noticing strength coming back but am still quite frustrated with the shape of things. I guess it's just going to take some time.