Summer is coming – and for those of you who live in a northern climate you know what that means! Get outside and stay outside for as long as possible for the next 3 months! And being outside in the summer often involves activities that require some core stability – like golfing, biking and paddle boarding. And really – even sitting on a lounge chair with a refreshing beverage requires some core stability!
So – for the next four weeks Trainer Tip Tuesdays is going to offer suggestions on strengthening the core. Are you ready?
What really is the core? It is not just about 6-pack abs and looking good in your swim suit. The core consists of almost all of the muscles in the human body aside from the limbs. As a unit, your core is largely responsible for stabilizing the spine and providing your body with the stiffness necessary to limit excessive movement and protect you from injuries. Who wants to be injured at any point – but especially in the summer!
Over the next four weeks we will explore four of my favorite exercises that address core stability. While the main goal of these exercises is to target the core – all of them also challenge other important muscles – like your shoulders, back, chest, arms and glutes.
We are going to start this week with a renegade row. This basically involves performing a dumbbell row from a push-up position. You can stick there if you want – OR you can add a band to really challenge the oblique muscles. You also get the benefit of targeting your back, arms, and glutes.
Let’s start with the basic movement:
- Get into the “top” position of a push-up. Your arms are straight as well as your body.
- Set your feet about hip- to shoulder-width apart. The closer together your feet are, the more challenging the exercise will be. Your knees should be slightly bent.
- Set up the weights so they are directly underneath your shoulders. Grab a dumbbell with each hand. Your shoulders, elbows and wrists should be stacked on top of each other.
- If this is too hard on your wrists – you can always just have the weights beside your hands with your hands on the floor.
- Take a deep breath in and smile.
- Row one dumbbell at a time from the floor to your ribcage. Initiate the pull with the muscles in your mid-back, not your arms. Your forearms should remain in a vertical position, and your elbows should remain tight to your sides.
- As you perform the rowing motion, think about squeezing your shoulder blades together and down. Pretend that you are trying to gently tuck your shoulder blade into your back pant pocket on the opposite side.
- Exhale as you slowly set the weight back down and smile.
- Now – the same thing on the other side for a total of 10. Work to complete 3 sets of 10.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Maintain proper alignment for the duration of the exercise. Aside from your rowing arm, your body should remain completely still.
- Keep your weight equally distributed on both feet and don’t allow your body to move at all.
Now – if you are ready to really challenge your core you can perform the exercise above with a heavy resistance band. Fasten the band around a secure post, column, or rack, and loop it just above your hips. Move far enough away to apply a moderate amount of tension to the band.
Let me know what you think once you try this! Leave a note in the comments. And – don’t forget to check back next week when we cover ½ Kneeling Kettlebell Press.
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!