Archive | February, 2013

Functional Core Workout

25 Feb

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As I promised in my last post, I have detailed below an example workout that will get your core working and improving strength and stability without doing hundreds of boring sit ups. You can do this workout anywhere you like as it involves no equipment and no running around. Take yourself outside or simply make some space in your living room, it’s up to you!

All these exercises work the core, but they also work other body parts too making it a functional exercise that will help to improve the way you do everyday movements. I have described the exercises the best I can but please feel free to email me if you don’t fully understand.

There are 5 exercises and 5 rounds. The number of repetitions are detailed in brackets next to each exercise. Give yourself a minute to rest in between each round but minimum rest in between each exercise.

1. Walkouts (5)

2. Full squat (15)

3. Lunge with twist (10 each leg)

4. mountain climbers (20)

5. High plank arm/leg lifts (10)

 

Exercise description

1. walkouts = From standing, bend your knees as far as need for your hands to touch the floor, walk them out so you’re in a high plank. Hold it for 2 seconds then walk your hands back and push up to a standing position again.

2. Full squat = Forget stopping your squat at a “seated position”. This time you need to squat as low as you possibly can go. Its as if you’re aiming to sit on the floor, then stand right back up to standing. Use your stomach muscles to help you keep strong.

3. Lunge with twist = Lunge forward with your right leg, ensure a good balanced position before twisting your body round to that forward right leg. Get yourself back to the lunge position before stepping back to standing and repeating the same thing again. Do all 10 reps on one leg before moving to the next leg.

4. mountain climbers = Position yourself in a high plank position on your hands and feet with a straight back and tight tummy. One by one slowly bend your knees and bring them into your elbows as close as you can. Dont forget to keep a tight shape all the way through.

5. High plank arm/leg lifts = Get yourself back into that high plank position from the previous exercise. 1 repetition in this exercise consists of lifting one arm, the other arm, then one leg, then the other leg. All you need to do is to keep the arms and legs straight when they are lifted so don’t worry about the height. Try not to twist the torso too much and just keep balanced and in control throughout.

 

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Core Stability

14 Feb

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What is Core Stability?

The core muscles lie deep within the trunk of your body. They are composed of the abdominal muscles, the lower back, the thoracic and cervical region of the spine. These areas work together to form a strong base of support for the whole body. They attach the spine, pelvis and muscles surrounding the scapula together. The core muscles stabilise these areas to form a firm foundation for the arms and legs to create movements. The stronger your core stability is, the more you will be able to do with your body!

 

Why do we need it?

Weak core muscles can contribute to all sorts of problems throughout the body with the most common being lower back pain and many people do not know that by simply strengthening the support from within the core, this pain can be alleviated very easily. It can also help your posture by straightening up your back which will stop you slouching so much.

Try this… stand up straight, place your hand on your lower back lightly, squeeze your stomach muscles as tight as you can and squeeze your bottom too. You should feel that your back straightens up a little bit?

Just a little exercise to show you that if your abdominals were tighter all the time, what it could do to help you with your posture!!

 

How to improve Core Stability?

Rather than lying on your back doing thousands of sit ups which quite often only work the outer core muscles, to engage the inner core we must perform functional exercises. This means exercises that use the whole body in movements that we may perform in our everyday life without realising such a lunging forward to pick something up off a low shelf!

When the body’s balance is challenged, the core will need to engage in order to prevent you from falling over. This means that doing exercises that involve lifting one leg up or standing with one in front of the other will be engaging your core to keep you upright. This is good news because it means that exercises that you previously thought were just working your legs such as squats are helping to strengthen your core as well!

Exercises that require you to hold your body in a still position such as the V-Sit or plank (see photo at the top of the post) use the core muscles to remain in that position. This is slightly less subtle than the functional exercises as the core can usually be felt as the body tires. The stronger your core muscles become, the longer you will be able to hold these positions.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for my next post in which I will give you an example of a workout that uses your core in almost all of the exercises without doing hours of sit ups.

Train for an event

11 Feb

5163255-family-run-art--cartoon-of-a-family-running-together-in-a-racing-eventThis weekend I took part in a relay race in Hyde Park. It consisted of 4 team members each running just under 4km (they got their measurements wrong) before tapping in with the next team mate. I would be lying if I said I looked out the window to a grey, rainy london and ran out of the house with excitement however, I really enjoyed the event and I would do it again. Once I got there, the adrenalin kicked in, my competitive nature reared its ugly head and off I went on my run around the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park.

As I said, it wasn’t the perfect day for spending hours outside however everybody was in the same boat and it didn’t seem such a problem when the energy around seemed so high. It was mighty cold though, and it’s not while you are running that it is a problem, in fact the cold becomes quite welcoming, it is when you are waiting for your turn that is can get very chilly! The answer to this… come better prepared! I will be bringing more layers next time!

Anyway the reason behind this post is that I wanted to let you all know what other events like this there are going on in London this year. It is always a good idea to have something to work towards whether it is a run, cycle or swim as it keeps you motivated when it gets hard. Get a group of friends together and raise some money for charity or just do it for the fitness aspect, its up to you.

Many of you reading this may not be from London so it is pointless for me to list all the local races for where I live so instead I have found some very useful websites that will help you to find events happening in your local area!

Use the link below to search for running events in your local area

http://events.runbritain.com/events/

The link below lists events of all disciplines that you can do for charity in the UK

http://www.doitforcharity.com/which-event.aspx

Sign up to something that will challenge you and push you to work harder in the gym or with your trainer. Make sure to let me know what you’ve signed up for and fill me in on your progress with the training. Good luck 🙂538250_602744193074596_404470882_n