Multiple Planes, Many Positions

Teach your class how to functionally train the core.

By Abbie Appel on Feb 16, 2018

Participants may have a love-hate relationship with your core routines, but there’s no reason why you can’t make things fun while helping people to move, feel and look better. Ideally, the core-training exercises you choose will hit multiple planes from many positions (supine, prone, side-lying, sitting, kneeling, standing) while also stabilizing the pelvis, spine and scapulae. This functional approach prepares the body for the rigors of daily life.

Insert this 15-minute core/abs section into one of your next classes (or make it a stand-alone routine). First, warm up with 2–3 minutes of low planks and slow, controlled supine spinal-flexion and prone spinal-extension exercises, timing the moves so you are free to coach students; this also allows everyone to go at their own pace. Next, do the following five exercises. You will need Gliding™ discs or anything that slides easily on the floor (paper plates or furniture sliders, for example). Perform each move for 45 seconds, with a 15-second transition time, for a total of 5 minutes. Repeat once and then finish with a 2- to 3-­minute cooldown.

V-Twist

V-Twist

  • Sit with thoracic spine extended, knees bent.
  • Place one disc between knees to engage hip and spinal stabilizers, and hold another disc between hands.
  • Rotate thoracic spine right and left. Keep arms chest-height, centered with sternum.

Prone Plank/Mud Crawl

Prone

  • Start in plank with disc under each foot.
  • Have elbows directly under shoulders, arms parallel and aligned.
  • Extend legs and hips; spine is neutral.
  • Brace core, and gaze at fingers.
  • “Walk” forearms back four steps, then forward to original position.
  • Modification: Move back and forth only two steps or simply hold plank.

Lateral Slide

Lateral

  • Sit with knees bent, stacked to R side, weight shifted slightly to R hip.
  • Place disc under R hand, R arm fully extended.
  • Slide disc R, abducting R shoulder. Use obliques, lats and shoulder adductors to slide disc back to original position.
  • Switch sides at halfway mark.
  • Modification: Decrease range of motion.

Prone Lat Pull (not pictured)

  • Lie prone, arms extended, shoulders flexed overhead, each hand on a disc.
  • Let legs be extended, slightly abducted and laterally rotated.
  • Lift abdominals, then use lats and abs to slide arms under shoulders.
  • Keep shoulder stabilizers engaged by depressing scapulae and staying broad through chest.
  • Slowly lower body back to floor, abdominals engaged.
  • Modification: Focus on lifting abdominals away from floor.

Teaser

Teaser

  • Sit in V-position, thoracic spine extended, knees bent, legs adducted.
  • Have both arms straight, hands on discs.
  • Roll straight down and back, flexing spine one vertebra at a time until lumbar spine and bottom back ribs are on floor. Simultaneously slide arms to sides, slightly above shoulders.
  • Use abdominals and obliques to roll up (peel spine off floor) to original V-position.
  • Progression: Roll to side-lying position and then return to V-position. Regression: Decrease range of motion.
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Abbie Appel

Abbie Appel is an international fitness educator with 20 years experience in the fitness industry. In addition to being a motivational speaker and consultant for Resist-A-Ball® and the Pilates Institute of America, Abbie has designed workouts and contributed material for videos, magazines and journals such as Self, Prevention and IDEA Fitness Journal.
Certifications: ACE, AFAA and NASM
Education provider for: ACE and AFAA

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