While many classes include only a small section that focuses on the core, this workout is all about the core! These exercises work a variety of muscles, from hips to shoulders, and much more. Although the foam roller is traditionally used for myofascial release, it's also an amazing functional tool with many other uses. Choose it to create combinations that weave balance, strength and flexibility.

Class Details: Core and More!

TOTAL TIME: approximately 55 minutes

FORMAT: creative core strength

GOAL/EMPHASIS: to perform a series of exercises that engage the core, using the foam roller to increase intensity, add a balance challenge, diversify positioning and add support

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: foam rollers (36 inches)

MUSIC: a variety of music with beats per minute in the same range as a typical sculpt class, between 128 and 135 bpm

Warm–Up (8—10 minutes)

  • Start in wide stance, holding foam roller horizontally end to end in front of body.
  • Move arms overhead and down to thighs, using full range of motion (1 minute).
  • As arms go up and above head, allow back to extend and chest to open.
  • Lower arms and slightly round back on downward movement, moving spine naturally.
  • Transition to lateral movement, keeping legs wide, and for about 30 seconds sweep arms side to side while rotating trunk. Allow heels to come off floor naturally and flow with full–body rotation to each side.
  • Vary arms by going low on one side, dropping below knee, and high above head on opposite side. Add dynamism with functional arm patterns such as figure eights, lunges, squats and pliés.

Here's a sample warm–up lunge combination:

  • Do rear pulsing lunge for 8 counts (right), with arms making big figure eights with foam roller.
  • Squat 2⨯ (8 counts), tapping foam roller on floor in front of feet. Reach overhead as you stand.
  • Repeat pulsing lunges, left side.

Work Phase (∿45 minutes)

Low Plank (7 minutes)

  • Place elbows on foam roller, shoulders directly above, legs extended on floor, body in slightly diagonal alignment.
  • Keep abdominals pulled in and up; do not arch back.

Leg Circles (2 minutes)

  • Lift one leg off floor and make big, slow circles, never putting foot down; reverse direction (1 minute).
  • Repeat leg circles, opposite side (1 minute).

Low Plank/Dynamic Legs (1 minute)

  • Do jumping jacks, marches, leg lifts or other leg variations to increase cardio and challenge coordination.

All–Fours Plank (4 minutes)

  • Place knees on foam roller, toes off floor, both hands on floor in front of foam roller.
  • Lift one arm to shoulder level while simultaneously lifting opposite leg to hip level (1 minute).
  • Hold same arm and opposing leg out for 1 full minute. Keep hand, hip and foot on same level without arching back.
  • Repeat both exercises on opposite side for 1 minute each.

Abdominals on Roller (5 minutes)

  • Sit with buttocks on front third of roller, legs shoulder–distance apart or more, feet on floor.
  • Secure hands behind hamstrings, pelvis in slight posterior tilt.
  • Without arching back, close rib cage and contract abdominals. Movement is minimal; the more parallel to ground the torso is, the more difficult this becomes. However, place no stress on back!
  • Vary arm positions: behind hamstrings, at ears, across chest, etc.

Abdominals on Roller

Supine Negative Abdominals (5 minutes)

  • Lie on ground, hips elevated on roller, beneath sacrum. Lift legs to ceiling.
  • Lower one leg to floor at a time, and then lower both legs.
  • Do not arch back. The moment rib cage expands or changes, stop, bend knees toward chest, and lift to starting position.
  • Vary legs for additional challenge, and finish with isometric hold. Keep rib cage "closed," abdominals engaged. Do not hold breath.

Supine hamstring and glute work (4 minutes)

  • Start with back on floor, both feet on foam roller.
  • Knees are in 90 degree angle, hips elevated. Do not arch back.
  • Contract and slightly raise buttocks.
  • Add rhythm variations and holds to increase/decrease intensity.

Supine Hamstring Hold/Lateral Toe Tap (4 minutes)

  • Start with back on foam roller, across shoulder blades.
  • Feet are below knees, hips elevated, feet and knees together. Do not arch back.
  • Lift one leg above hips, drop leg laterally and tap floor.
  • Contract inner thigh and use core to raise leg back to starting position.
  • Tap and lift for 2 minutes; repeat on other side.

Standing Balance (4 minutes)

  • Put roller on floor, parallel to shoulders. Place one foot on top and center.
  • Add pressure to foot that's on roller until most body weight is off other foot. Encourage participants to go slowly and carefully gauge balance ability and transfer.
  • Alternate balancing for 1 minute on each foot.

Horizontal High Plank (4 minutes)

  • Place hands shoulder–distance apart on roller.
  • Body has clean, diagonal line; do not arch back.
  • Do lateral toe taps, mountain climbers (speed variations), rotation work, traveling foot work or dynamic deep alternating lunges to both ends of roller (see picture).

Hortizontal High Plank

Abdominal Roll–Out (4 minutes)

  • Start on knees, fingertips on roller, arms fully extended, hips over knees.
  • Roll out onto forearms, elbows in front of shoulder, body extended.
  • Roll right up to elbows, then contract and roll back up to starting position.
  • The more elongated and parallel to the floor the torso is, the more difficult the exercise becomes.
  • Move body slowly and do not arch back. Add isometric hold in fully extended position for challenge.

Abdominal Roll Out

Cool–Down (8 minutes)

To end class on a high note, simply choose your favorite myofascial–release rolling exercises to stretch and relax the entire body.

Aileen Sheron

Aileen Sheron is a 30-year veteran of the fitness industry. An IDEA member and presenter for over 15 years, she is an entrepreneur with multiple videos, fitness products and articles to her credit. Aileen currently teaches at Renaissance ClubSport, the University of California, Irvine and the Sports Club/LA in Orange County, California.
Certifications: ACE and AFAA

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