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Abdominals/Core

Standing core exercise: dumbbell cross body chop

Standing Core Exercise

Standing core exercise is a great way to target, well, almost everything! These fast, effective options are creative and fun.

A Strong Diaphragm for a Strong Core

When you think about exercising core muscles, do you remember your diaphragm? Its two main functions involve breathing and biomechanics, and it’s one of the most important muscles for maintaining intra-abdominal pressure (Nelson 2012). Intra-abdominal pressure is like a weight belt applied from the inside. If your body can’t regulate this pressure, you may experience poor motor control and lack of spinal stability. Plus, when the diaphragm is not properly engaged, other muscles must compensate, increasing your risk of injury.

Aching for the Quadratus Lumborum

Many of your clients likely work desk jobs and sit most of the day. This is not an ideal situation for many reasons, one being the risk of developing chronic lower-back pain. If you or a client is experiencing aches or sharp pains in the lower back, the issue may stem from problems with the quadratus lumborum.

Anti-rotation coaching with golf player

Using Anti-Rotation to Coach Rotation

When you watch someone hit a golf ball, throw a punch or simply retrieve groceries from the car, it’s evident that human movement occurs in all three planes of motion. A review of basic core anatomy—major muscles attached to the trunk, above the ischial tuberosity and below the superior aspect of the sternum—reveals that 87.5% of the core muscles are oriented either diagonally or horizontally, and one action that these muscles perform is rotation (Santana 2000).

Breath and Movement for Core Stability

When your participants ask about their core muscles, they’re most likely referring to the lauded “six-pack.” As a fitness instructor, you may think about transversus abdominis, obliques and pelvic-floor muscles. But almost everyone tends to forget about the diaphragm.

Core Yoga Slow-Flow Sequence

Mindful movement practices like yoga and Pilates allow you to incorporate flexibility, core work and body awareness into your current client programming. Core yoga is a practice that blends the precision, control and core-strengthening benefits of Pilates with the mindful and meditative benefits of yoga.

Try this core yoga slow-flow sequence and share it with your clients!

Neuromuscular Power Circuits

The dynamic motions of sport require peak power—that is, the most strength a muscular contraction can muster in one of these quick bursts. Sporting athletes depend on peak power for jumping, running, throwing, striking, swinging and kicking. Scientists prefer the term “neuromuscular power” (to just “power” itself) because neural factors—including motor unit recruitment, muscle fiber firing frequency and synchronization of a muscle’s contractile forces—are involved.

Plank Variations

Forearm plank, side plank, plank with hip dips—all are group exercise favorites. The plank is one of the most familiar and effective choices for core work, and it’s an easy addition. However, how many times can you program that same old plank? Fortunately, with a little creativity, a basic plank can be amazingly versatile. Just add simple movements and a little resistance to make an already challenging move even more interesting and effective.

The following variations are best for participants who can hold a plank with
good form for at least a minute.

Balance and Stability

Balance, which is essential for integrated movement, declines as we age. However, you can teach group fitness students how to maintain balance while also taking them through some fun, creative core exercises. Having a strong trunk and hip complex helps us maintain balance for years to come. In your next class, incorporate these multiplanar exercises targeting the core musculature and the gluteals. Each move is done in a standing position, and equipment is optional. Encourage attendees who struggle with balance to perform these exercises against a wall or while holding onto a barre.

Belly Fat vs. Vitamin D

Here’s another good reason for people to reduce their Buddha-bellies: improving their vitamin D status. According to data presented at the 2018 European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain, researchers from the Netherlands found that more body fat around adults’ waistline is associated with lower vitamin D levels. Beyond raising the risk of weak bones, poor vitamin D status could set the stage for other health issues, including heart disease and compromised immunity.

Strength Ladder

Strength training classes don’t have to adhere to a classic “sets and reps” template. Why not climb your way up and down this fun fitness ladder for a fast and furious total-body workout? Repetitions are high, but so is the frequency of change, keeping interest piqued during intense work sets.

Strength Ladder Details
GOAL/EMPHASIS: total-body strength training
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour

Barre Moves for Core Development

Barre classes focus on the core throughout the entire workout and have many ardent followers. Why not use barre-inspired moves in the core section of your HIIT or boot camp class? Your participants will love these variations on classic core fundamentals!

Location Is Everything When It Comes to BMI

The results are in: According to a new study, people who live within close proximity to a gym or activity center weigh less than those who don’t. Access to fast-food restaurants may also affect weight, say the study’s authors.