Friday, January 14, 2011

My core hurts. No, does.

Am I the only one that actually enjoys feeling sore? I feel like I'm not, but you never know. Feeling sore = feeling pain. But it's a good pain that signifies a job well done. On this particular day, my core is exceptionally sore. I blame it on my friends at the gym. It's all their fault. Let me explain:

This group of people I speak of is at the gym every single morning. And that's no lie. I call them the triathletes because really, that's what they are. I see their Ironman tattoos peaking out from underneath their gear. They can't hide 'em. And they don't, really. This group of people is also one of the nicest groups of people I've ever met, which makes them more than willing to swap training tips and offer words of encouragement. They also like to rope people into their circle, and I think they've got their eye on me. They know I have a bike, they've seen me running. They are constantly inviting me into the pool on swim days. But alas, I do not swim. (At least not yet. I can barely dog-paddle. Sad, right? And I don't have a suitable bathing suit, but I digress...) I do, however, work my core.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I wake up early for two clients, after which I have some time before the rest of my shift to squeeze in a workout. I run, and then I work my core. This past Tuesday, I got an invite to join them during their core exercises. At least for one particular exercise. And it killed me, obviously. Otherwise I wouldn't be talking about a sore core. But it was fun, and I gave it another go just yesterday.

Yes, the trainer is getting trained—not for a triathlon, though. At least not yet.

So what did they make me do that left me so sore? Planks. But not just any planks. A series of planks interspersed with pushups.

I know, right.

Try it: Get into the plank position, down on your elbows rather than your hands. Hold it here for two minutes, then immediately push up onto your hands and proceed to complete 15 pushups. Upon completion, immediately return to your plank position and hold it there for another minute and a half. And yes, after that you'll get back up and do 15 pushups....and then get back down again for another minute-long plank. (Of course, if you're a beginner, limit your planks to 30 seconds each and build up from there.)

I have to mention that yesterday they started out with a 3-minute plank, rather than two. "Oh, didn't I tell you," said he who held the watch, "we're starting out with three minutes today." This, of course, was after I began sweating bullets all over my mat during the last minute of my first plank. In my defense, I had just run a 5K on the treadmill and was still catching my breath.

But anyways, I've come to love this little plank routine. It does wonders for the core, which is not to be confused with your abdominal muscles—although they are a part of your core. When it comes to your core muscles, you have to include your hip flexors. Also your lower back and your glutes, all of which work to keep you balanced during every move you make. That's your anatomy lesson for the day. Bonus for this exercise? It also works your chest and shoulders, thanks to the pushups. Learn to love pushups, I'm telling you right here—they're amazingly good for you. And there's nothing wrong with the knee modification. You have to start somewhere.

And I'm going to start running outside again. For those of you that know where I live, you're probably wondering if I've just consumed a crazy pill. Yes, my world is blanketed in snow right now, and it doesn't look like it's going away any time soon, but I made a purchase that's going to get me back out there in my running shoes—with good traction:

 YakTrax! Cari raved about them when I met up with her for an EcoTrek, and I'm pretty excited to find out what they're all about. I will be testing them out this weekend when I run through the dunes with— roped in again—the triathletes. Should be an experience. Hopefully I can keep up, so help me God. 

Question: What's the one core exercise that gets you every time? How often do you work your core? And if you've got any tips for a new YakTrax-er, leave them in the "comments" section below. Thanks!

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my YouBars giveaway! You just might win a free box of customized goodies. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, January 14, 2011).

1 comment:

Heather said...

Wow!! That sounds like an intense core routine! Awesome. I love working my core - I try to do it about 4 days/week w/ a variety of different exercises.

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