Workout Wednesday: Beyond the Crunch

It’s hard to find a fitness magazine or video series that doesn’t highlight moves or tricks for building a stronger core. That’s good, because core training should be a key component of anyone’s exercise program, regardless of his or her fitness level.

The core – made up of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, thoracic spine and cervical spine – is the region of the body where all movement begins. If you have a weak and unstable core, your body simply can’t move the way it’s supposed to. That’s one of the easiest ways to put yourself at increased risk for injury.

New core exercises seem to pop up all the time, but I’ve always been a big fan of some the classics. That being said, there are several core exercises beyond the crunch that I use in my client’s fitness programs along with my own.  Here’s the kicker: these exercises all fit into the stabilization endurance level of training. This is the level where all fitness newbies should start and all fitness veterans should re-visit to maintain core and joint stability. For this trio, my friend and photographer Lauren Bachner captured a snapshot of the start and finish position for each exercise. Aim for two sets of 12-20 reps:

  1. Ball bridge:Once you’ve mastered the two-leg and one-leg floor bridge, this is a great progression of a key core exercise. Training tips: make sure your feet are hip-width apart. Draw in your navel and squeeze your glutes to get your knees in line with your hips and shoulders. Once you’re established the bridge, hold the position for two seconds before lowering your pelvis.

    Hype Gym, New York, NY

    Photos by Lauren Bachner

  2. Prone Iso-Abs (Plank): This remains my all-time favorite core exercise.  Here, I show you the “basic” plank along with a progression, where you add a leg lift. Training tips: In either version, be sure to draw in your navel and squeeze your glutes before you raise your body off the floor to form a straight line from head to toe.  Hold plank position for two to three seconds before dropping to the ground to re-start. 
  3. Side Iso-Ab (Side Plank): I admit, I need to perform this version of the plank more often – and you should too! Training tips: Your elbow should be directly below your shoulder and be sure to draw in your navel and contract glutes before lifting your hips and legs off the ground. Hold the plank for two to three seconds before lowering back to start position. 

I wrap up this Workout Wednesday post with another thank you to Lauren for taking these action shots and to the owners of Hype Gym for letting us use their awesome facility for the perfect backdrop. Stay tuned for more shots of my favorite exercises in the future. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what’s on your list of favorites when it comes to exercises that help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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About LauraLovesFitness

After spending more than 10 years in the communications industry, this lifetime fitness lover and newly certified fitness professional wants to share my passion for health and well-being with others.

Posted on February 29, 2012, in Fitness, Health and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Wow!! Look at that six-pack.
    You didn’t have that when I was adjusting you.
    You look great. Keep up the good work.
    Say hi to the folks. Luv ya kiddo.
    Dr. Bob

  2. Hi Dr. Bob! It’s good to know my hard work is getting noticed! Thanks for checking in, and reminding me I am in need of an adjustment! Hope you and the family are all doing well!

  3. I was thinking the same thing about the six-pack! That is outstanding. I love work ethic!

  4. Well, thank you for the kind comment, Shane. Here’s to a fun-filled weekend with a little time for fitness!

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