Would You Like to Improve Your Core Strength? – Take a Ride on the Plank

 

By Rick Morris

 

Every so often a new fitness buzz word appears that really takes hold and becomes a part of everyday fitness lingo. Functional fitness is one of those words. Functional fitness is a popular new way to describe what used to be called goal specific or event specific fitness. As a runner, functional fitness would describe running specific strength, flexibility and endurance.

 

A big part of functional fitness is core strength. Functional fitness begins with strong core muscles. Your core muscles are the stabilizing muscles of your trunk and hip. These muscle groups include the well known rectus abdominis or “six-pack” muscle, internal and external obliques, (on both sides of your rectus abdominis), transverse abdominis (deep stabilizing ab muscle), hip flexor muscles, hip extensor muscles, and that other famous muscle – your gluteus maximus (butt muscles).

 

Your core muscles are important for running specific strength because they provide a strong stable base to support the movements of your legs and arms. They transfer power from your core to your hard working leg muscles. A stronger core means more power transfer potential. If your core is weak less power will be transferred and your stride will be less stable. Precious energy will be wasted with side to side and vertical movements.

 

There are many possible exercise combinations you can do to strengthen your core, but one exercise has risen to the top of the core workout menu that does a great job at strengthening all of your core muscles. This core strengthening exercise is even more valuable because it can be used to strengthen core muscles for any activity and also builds a base of core strength to support the more difficult and running specific core exercises that you will do as you progress through a training program.

 

This plank workout is a 7 step workout that becomes harder as your progress through the 7 exercises. If you have trouble completing all 7 steps – don’t worry. Keep doing this workout on a daily basis. Soon you will be able to complete all 7 steps with rock solid accuracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step One – Starting Position

 

Lie face down on a mat or soft surface. Support your body weight with your feet and forearms. Tuck your pelvis so that your hips are pressed forward and your body is very straight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

 

Step Two – Right Arm Up

 

From the starting position raise your right arm straight out above your head. Your right hand should be about 6 to 12 inches off the ground. Your weight should now be supported by your left forearm and both feet. Do not twist your body. Keep your hips pressed forward and your body very straight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

 

Step Three – Left Arm Up

 

From the starting position raise your left arm straight out above your head. Your weight should now be supported by your right forearm and both feet. Do not twist your body. Keep your hips pressed forward and your body very straight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

 

Step Four – Right Leg Up

 

From the starting position raise your right leg straight up off the ground. Your right foot should be about 6 inches off the ground.  Your weight should now be supported by both forearms and your left foot. Do not twist your body. Keep your hips pressed forward and your body very straight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

 

Step Five – Left Leg Up

 

From the starting position raise your left leg straight up off the ground. Your left foot should be about 6 inches off the ground.  Your weight should now be supported by both forearms and your right foot. Do not twist your body. Keep your hips pressed forward and your body very straight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

 

Step Six – Right Arm and Left Leg Up

 

From the starting position raise your right arm and left leg at the same time. Your weight should now be supported by your left forearm and your right foot. Do not twist your body. Keep your hips pressed forward and your body very straight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

 

Step Seven – Left Arm and Right Leg Up

 

From the starting position raise your left arm and right leg at the same time. Your weight should now be supported by your right forearm and your left foot. Do not twist your body. Keep your hips pressed forward and your body very straight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

 

 

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