Strength is important, but functional strength is essential—and for this, variety is key. “More for the Core” takes participants through a flowing mix of methods, disciplines and combinations that engage and activate even the tiniest core muscles with continuous, dynamic movement. It’s a perfect way to prepare the body for activities of daily living. This workout lasts approximately 60 minutes and requires no equipment. Instrumental music in the 128- 132-BPM range works well.
Warm-Up (7-10 minutes)
A comprehensive, dynamic warm-up prepares the body for specific exercises and also prepares the mind for physical activity. This is the time to put aside mental tasks and focus on the body. When designing a dynamic warm-up, use moves that include all the major muscle groups and that simulate what you’re going to do in class, only on a less intense level. Examples for this class include marching in place; marching wide to slow, easy squats; marching with high knees; and wide side lunges.
Core of the Class (30 minutes)
- With legs hip distance apart, knees and toes facing forward, squat down for 2 counts and up for 2 counts; 2 sets of 8. On last rep, hold for another 8 counts and pulse for 2 sets of 8.
- Start with legs in sumo squat, knees and toes facing slightly out. Repeat first squat sequence above. After last set, come to starting position, lift right (R) heel and pulse for 2 sets of 8; repeat left (L). Repeat single sets: R for 8, L for 8; R for 4, L for 4; R for 2, L for 2. Finish with single alternating heel lifts, 2 sets of 8.
- Step legs together to hip distance apart and squat. Do 10–15 plyometric jumps (progression). Focus on deceleration and teach students how to land softly.
- Do side steps to shake out legs.
- Standing in mountain pose, do forward fold and walk into plank position. Do 5 push-ups, and walk back into forward fold and mountain pose.
- Repeat, adding isometric leg lift during push-up.
- Repeat, flowing from push-up to side plank and back, 5x each side.
- Return to mountain pose and add a plyometric burpee series. Start with legs wide in sumo stance. Squat, jump to plank, do push-up, and jump up with arms high, 8x–12x.
- From mountain pose, reach arms high, drop L arm to side, push R hip out and look up at R arm to stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat L.
- From mountain pose, reach arms high and step R leg back into lunge; repeat with L leg; 8 counts each side.
- Add plyometric option: lunge back, drop low and jump to switch legs, 2 sets of 8.
- Regress to nonplyometric option, 4x.
- Lunge around the world: R leg forward, front 45-degree angle, side, back 45-degree angle, back, 8 reps; repeat L.
- Side step to shake it out.
- From step-touch, make movement larger. To progress, change to skate jumps, leaping to side and touching floor with hand for 30 seconds. Step-touch to recover.
- Grapevine side to side. Change to carioca with fast feet (progression), 30 seconds, then back to grapevine.
- Perform standing knee raises. Progress to running with high knees, 30 seconds; recover with easy jog in place.
- From easy jog in place, progress to football runs; do fast feet 10 seconds and quarter turn for 10 seconds. Repeat until facing front, and switch directions. Recover with easy march.
- Do side steps forward 4 counts and back 4 counts. Progression: change steps to hopping forward at angle for 4 and back with high knees for 8 (30 seconds, then side steps for recovery).
- Standing in place, with legs hip distance apart, do calf raises. Progress to jump squats. Vary direction by quarter turns and repeat in opposite direction for 30 seconds. March in place to recover.
Standing Cool-Down (5 minutes)
Take clients through simple dynamic stretches in standing position; for example, knee raises, hamstring curls, step-touches, marching in place, arm swings and arm raises. Bring the heart rate down before moving to floor exercises and stretching.
Floor Core Series (10 minutes)
From supine, perform the following:
- Do Pilates roll-ups, up for 4 and down for 4.
- Perform lower-body bridge, up for 4 and down for 4, 8x. Add leg extension at top of bridge, hold for 4, repeat with other leg, and then lower back down for 4, 4x.
- Sit at 45-degree angle, hands in front of abs. Rotate and touch elbow side to side for 2 counts (reach and touch, 2; back to center, 2; other side, 2; back to center, 2).
- Sit at 45-degree angle, arms reaching straight from shoulders. Alternate knees in toward chest, maintaining 45-degree angle; 16 reps (8 each side).
- side plank on forearm, lifting and lowering hips for 8, and repeating on other side
- side plank/side leg lift, 8 each side
- upper-body extensions
- lower-body extensions
- alternating arm and leg extensions
- both upper- and lower-body extensions
- upper-body extensions with rotation
- Lift center, rotate R, back center and down; repeat L; alternate.
Floor Cool-Down and Stretching (5 minutes)
Hold each of the following for 30 seconds.
- Begin in child’s pose, and thread the needle R, then L.
- Return to child’s pose, walk R arm to R and put L hand over R. Repeat L.
- Come to supine and do full body-stretch (arms and legs reach long). Bring knees to chest and hold, gently rocking.
- Lie on back, L leg extended on floor and R leg in air. Hold behind thigh or calf for hamstring stretch; repeat L.
- With knees bent, feet flat on floor, cross R ankle over L thigh and bring L knee toward chest for figure-4 stretch; repeat R.
- Roll onto stomach for cobra pose on forearms.
- Push back and sit up tall on knees. Bring R foot in front and lean into hip flexor stretch; repeat L.
- Stand up with straight back, and stretch shoulders.
- Inhale: reach arms up and overhead; exhale: bring arms down.
Have a question about the core? Ask it here.