Core: Challenge participants to connect with the core in different, fun ways.
Fitness “toys” can make a big difference in helping class participants heighten body awareness—especially awareness of their core muscles. Case in point: a small, soft, inflatable exercise ball known as a sponge ball or Pilates miniball. The miniball comes in a range of sizes, from 7 to 12 inches in diameter, and is a great addition to many classes. Use it to help attendees increase range of motion; to promote co-contraction, or bracing, of the “inner unit”—including the transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, diaphragm and multifidus; and as a reference point to correct alignment.
Include the following moves in your next class for variety and challenge.
Lie prone on forearms in plank position over ball, which is directly under navel. Elbows are bent at 90 degrees under shoulders, forearms are neutral, thumbs up. Extend legs or drop knees to floor. “Squish” ball, then pull navel away by drawing ribs and hips closer to each other to brace core.
Lift abdominals up and away from ball, and slightly protract scapulae. Stay in contact with ball, but do not rest on it—it should retain its spherical shape. Lengthen spine to form perfectly aligned plank.
Purpose. The ball helps participants find neutral spinal alignment while encouraging body awareness in plank.
Engagement. The entire anterior kinetic chain engages to hold the body up against gravity. The posterior kinetic chain stabilizes the joints to allow the anterior chain to work efficiently.
From seated position on floor, place ball behind pelvis (sacrum). Lie supine over ball, spine slightly flexed. Reset ball closer to ribs and shoulders for less range of motion or if more back sup- port is needed. Bend arms, and place hands behind head for more challenge, or behind knees for less challenge. With control, extend spine over ball, then flex spine to original position. Gaze at knees as reference point to avoid overextending thoracic and cervical spine.
Purpose. The ball allows for greater range of motion and engagement. The ball’s instability also requires participants to stabilize the core.
Engagement. The core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques, engage to flex the spine. Lateral and posterior kinetic-chain muscles stabilize the body on the ball.
Side Leg Lifts
Lie sideways over ball, which is directly beneath waist. Top leg is straight, aligned with spine. Bend bottom leg, stack knees and hips, and dorsiflex ankle. Extend bottom arm on floor, and rest head on it. Extend top arm overhead. Body is in alignment from head to tail, spine laterally flexed over ball. Plantar-flex ankle of top leg and abduct; maintain spinal alignment and parallel leg position. Do not allow top leg to rotate laterally. Lower (adduct) leg to original position.
Purpose. The ball stabilizes hips and spine to allow only leg abduction and adduction.
Engagement. While the hip abductors are the focus, the gluteus maximus and muscles of the spine stabilize the body in the frontal plane.
For the latest research, statistics, sample classes, and more, "Like" IDEA on Facebook here.
Certifications: ACE, AFAA and NASM
Education provider for: ACE and AFAA less
© 2014 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
|Extreme Interval Training
In this course you'll learn goal-focused intervals and over 50 dynamic exercises and drills to create extensive and intensive training formats.
|Cut to the Core
This is a raw, unedited video filmed live at the 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention™. Cut to the Core is packed full of core-focused exercises that aim to improve the way you look, feel and live.
|September 2011 IDEA Fitness Journal Quiz 4: Plyometric Training
This continuing education quiz is an in-depth look at plyometric training. Plyometric exercises—jumping, bounding, hopping, arm pushing, and catching and throwing weighted objects such as machine balls—are movements that involve rapid eccentric and concentric muscle actions.