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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.