Runner’s World had a good question about core conditioning this month: Why would you lie down to strengthen your core when you run upright? I couldn’t really think of a good answer, so I took their advice and did the three core exercises they suggested. There’s the single-leg reach, the single-leg squat, and the posterior reach (described below). I did 3 sets of 15 reps of each one. And the next day I realized it really wasn’t an ab workout at all. My glutes and thighs were telling me otherwise. It hurt, in the best possible way, to sit down. I’ll keep these exercises on my list for days when I have a few minutes but can’t get outside, but not as part of my core workout. (And I recommend trying them at least once, just so you can spend the next day or two realizing how often you have to squat to do something for your kiddies.)

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t feel it in my core. But don’t worry, it got better. You see, on Tuesday I went to the gym for the yoga class but the teacher didn’t show up. They sent us Justin, the core conditioning instructor, instead. Justin had no mercy. There were only two of us that stuck around after yoga was canceled, and he was able to give us his full attention so we didn’t slack off. Which was kind of embarrassing when we got to the last set of exercises and I was completely unable to do it because I couldn’t get my head off the floor. That’s right, my head. Apparently I have a weak neck. It could not stand up to the rigors of 30 minutes of core conditioning. I’m only slightly embarrassed because it was a pretty awesome workout and I really want to do it again.

For now I’m going to stick to the more traditional lying down method of core training. At least until I learn to hold my head up.

Single-leg reach: Stand on your right leg and bend over, reaching your left hand toward your right toes. Stand up and bring your left knee high and right arm forward (running position). Reapeat reps on both sides.

Single-leg squat: Stand on your right leg, with your left knee bent. Lower your body as far as possible with good control. Keep you right knee in line with your toes as you lower. Repeat sets on both sides.

Posterior reach: Stand with feet parallel, hip-width apart, hands across the chest. Drive your hips forward, bend your knees and lean back. Keep your core tight as you tilt so that there is no pressure on the lower back. Make it harder: do the same move with feet in a staggered stance (one behind the other). Make it advanced: do the move standing on one leg.

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1 Comment

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