Core work won’t remove fat from your belly. You do core work to strengthen and better stabilize the low spine and protect it from injury. But it also helps with balance, coordination and overall movement efficiency. It’s a great cool-down but can also be interspersed with cardio and strength (as we do in the club).
The principles of safe, effective execution mirror those of strength work with slow, controlled, full-range movements. You want to be careful with speed and, when lying on your back, letting your legs go too far of center away from your navel if your core strength is not exceptional. Any stress to the low back when doing core exercises means you’ve gone too long, that the variation you’ve chosen is too difficult for you or both. Core work should be balanced, working the entire 360 degree band from the base of the ribs to the base of the glutes. One additional tip – don’t work your core strenuously before doing any upper body strength work that requires significant stabilizing of the spine (like standing dumbbell shoulder presses), as that can put the low back at risk for injury.
As for flexibility, it’s all about a balanced range of motion (ROM) and elasticity in the muscle tendon chain. Establishing a balanced ROM for muscles that perform opposing tasks (like pushing muscles versus pushing muscles) is a great way to minimize your injury risk. Yoga is a great discipline for developing flexibility, but you can also do dynamic stretches and static stretches immediately after strength sets and/or at the end of your workout to optimize flexibility.
Because of the nuances of these modes, the best way to get precise direction and correction for both core and flexibility work is private training. It’s worthwhile to consider an hour devoted to the combination to ensure safe, effective training in your classes or on your own.
For the health of the pulmonary (breath) and circulatory (blood flow) systems, and to significantly reduce major disease risk like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among many others, and for increasing stamina and general physical vitality. Here are the most important qualities to include in your cardio program (2-6x/week, 15-60 minutes total per workout unless you are a competitive endurance athlete):
1. Minimal impact to reduce spine and joint stress
2. Fluid, full range movements to optimally load the heart and lung output rather than overwork the muscles
3. Full-body recruitment to disperse joint load and maintain balanced muscle endurance development and joint mobility
4. If you have established a health/fitness base to accommodate it, short, high-intensity cardio bouts of a few to several minutes are better than long, lower intensity bouts.
Of course exercises that include mostly upper body or mostly lower body movement, some impact and joint stress can be very effective at raising your heart rate and aerobic capacity (racket sports, running, basketball), there is a cost to the wear and tear on the joints and they are not as efficient as multi-plane, low-impact full body movements of a similar intensity. A typical cardio circuit I run with a client is two minutes on the elliptical trainer, one minute slamming and catching a medicine ball off the bounce, and another two minutes power walking with a harness while I hold him/her back via a heavy resistance band. That’s five minutes, which I might do four times in an hour. Even if you’re in great shape, that’s plenty.
What: A safer, more effective way to train with ferocious intensity. Six weeks, twelve classes, a lifetime of knowledge about how to get into great shape without injuring yourself.
When: Tue/Thu, 6:30 – 7:15am, July 5 – August 11
Where: Tri Valley Trainer, Pleasanton
Who: Dan Taylor, ACE, NASM-CPT, former faculty ACE & NASM, former Club Sport Pleasanton Boxing Instructor
How Much?: $300 for the series
A Taste?: Watch this.
More Info or to Register: Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com
“I have to say since starting Lean Online in January I feel great. Not just because of weight loss (20 lbs) but how to eat right and not diet. If I slip one day (or two) I don’t feel guilty.”
– RoseAnn P., Pleasanton, CA
Next Lean Online series starts May 30.
Raw: Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower (all dipped in hummus), cherry tomatoes, celery (dipped in almond butter), cucumbers & jicama.
Roasted: B-sprouts (w/bacon and granny smith apples), butternut squash, asparagus and the first three above.
Stir Fried: Anything but onions and peppers 🙂