When your St Louis personal trainer says the word “core,” most people picture those six pack muscle that you seen in the media. However, your core is so much more than that! Your core not only consists of the abdominal muscles, but the entire trunk, front and back, including the hips. Having a strong core is imperative because it helps to stabilize your spine and effects your posture. Think of your core as a soda can. The bottom of the can is your pelvic floor, the top is your diaphragm, and the front of the can contains your abdominal wall muscles and the back contains your lumbar/thoracic muscles. When all parts of the can are strong and sturdy it is very hard to crush and cause damage to the can. When one or more parts of your can have a dent in them it makes the can much easier to crush. A ding in your can could be weak abdominal muscles (front), asthma (diaphragm), or bad posture (back). The more dings you have the more susceptible you will be to back/spine injury, postural issues, ect.
If we continue with the soda can metaphor, lets talk about bracing. Before you open that can of diet soda, you notice that it is pressurized. Before you preform any movement you must “pressurize” your core similarly. That is, stiffening those core muscles to spare and protect your spine. To stiffen those muscle correctly, I like to tell my clients to act as if they are about to be punched in the stomach. Notice while you are doing this you are not sucking in or hollowing. You should be able to breath while bracing! This is why your personal trainer is always nagging you to BRACE THAT CORE! We want to optimize core engagement and endurance, protect the spine, and prevent future injuries.
TRX-ceptional Plank Variations
A great way to target all areas of your core at the same time is by doing planks. We all know that forearm or hand planks can get boring after you have mastered them so we have outlined some plank variations using TRX straps to spice up your workout!
- Side Plank-Place each foot into the straps. Lie on one side with hip in line with your front foot. Place the elbow or hand under the shoulder. Lift the hip off the ground while squeezing the ankles and feet together. Look straight ahead and hold for 8-10 second, rest, then lift back up. Repeat 10 times, then rotate to the other side
- Spiders- Place each foot into the straps, stomach facing down. Place hands on either side of shoulders and push up. Once in a stable plank, draw the right knee into the right elbow, then back to center. Repeat with the left knee to left elbow. Complete 10-12 repetitions on each side.
- Pike- Place each foot into the straps, stomach facing down. Place hands on either side of shoulders and push up. Once in a stable plank, squeeze your ankles, knees, and thighs together and bring your feet towards your face and your hips to the ceiling while keeping the legs as straight as you can. Release and bring your legs back down into your original plank. Repeat for 10-12 repetitions.
- Tuck – Place each foot into the straps, stomach facing down. Place hands on either side of shoulders and push up. Once in a stable plank, bring your knees together and up towards your chest while keep your back flat and hips down. Bring your legs back out into your original plank. Repeat for 10-12 repetitions.
Make sure while you are doing these challenging moves you are BRACING THAT CORE! Your body will love you for it and you will make your personal trainer happy 🙂
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