At the Core of the Matter

I think that most of us know the importance of having a strong core, especially those who have made fitness a part of their lifestyle.  I used to read about planking in many health and fitness magazines, articles, blogs and online workouts, but would conveniently plan to avoid this exercise because I found it to be too hard. I would essentially just stick to variations of stomach crunches and sit ups, and sure my mid-section would look flat, but it wouldn’t feel strong.  My back still curved as I did bench presses; it would swing and sway as I did heavy bicep curls. This ill form of not keeping a straight back when lifting would inevitably lead to injury I began to realize, and it would get in the way of lifting heavier. Little did I know that having a stable and strong core directly affects performance and correct form.  I consulted with a trainer at the gym about building a strong abdominal region, and she advised that nothing works better than the good old plank. That was months ago, and I decided from that day on to keep on planking, no matter how hard it was for me. I increased my planking time from 20 seconds to just shy of two minutes and have experienced gains such as:

  • better breathing and less hunching over when fatigued during jogging
  • holding better form when bicep curling (I only rock and sway now when dancing.)
  • keeping a straight back on the bench when chest pressing and putting less stress and pressure on my lower back.
  • better form when doing pull-ups and no longer curve my spine to help pull my weight up.
  • aesthetically, better over all posture. ( I bet ya’ Quasimodo didn’t plank. All that ringing of the bell tower must have put a terrible strain on his back.)
  • burpees, push-ups and mountain climbers became easier as my mid section became stronger.

My Get a Better Stronger Core and Feel Better Workout:

Super set:
hold a plank for 30 seconds
do 30 Russian twists or hold a v-sit position for 30 seconds.
I repeat this 3 times, resting between each super set

Or I just hold a plank for 2 minutes.

IMG_1528IMG_1527Is there an exercise you once avoided like the plague, but are doing it now and reaping the rewards of feeling stronger and performing better?





17 thoughts on “At the Core of the Matter

    1. Yes for sure. I used to do 100’s of crunches, but they did not do what these three movements have done for me. It’s amazing how the core helps support all activities.

  1. Because of you my dear sister, I started doing this tonight! I found as I was doing it, it made me feel better in several areas. I need the exercise though most say I look very well but with the back and neck, and rib injuries from the military and the MS, it is much easier to do than crunches or other sit up type exercises. Hugs to you for sharing the info, you made my evening. Have a very wonderful weekend! Hugs and blessings!

    1. Sorry to read of your injuries and I extend my best wishes to you. Glad the exercises seem to help. I must also comment that I have several of your touching poems in my daily devotionals. Hugs, blessings and pain-free living to you. Enjoy your weekend.

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