How to Train some of your Core Muscles

How to Train the Most Important Core Muscle

Reproduced from the original article in Bicycling

Balance Ball Pikes  image

Why They Rock: Moves with an instability component force you to confront any muscle imbalances or weaknesses you may have. “If you’re going off balance, your body is going to let you know,” says Durner. This pike is a great one for testing where you’re weak.

How to Do ‘Em: Start in a plank position with your feet up on an exercise ball. Keeping your knees straight, bring the ball in toward your hips—your butt should be pointed up to the sky. Beginners can start by bending their knees and simply bringing the ball in toward their chest, but once you’ve mastered that, move on to the full, straight-knee pikes.

Russian Twists      image:

Why They Rock: “You’re hitting the obliques and the transverse abdominis,” says Derner, adding that rotational moves like this really target the muscles that keep you steady when climbing.

How to Do ‘Em: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet slightly off the ground (yogis will know this as boat pose). Twist your torso all the way to one side, then all the way to the other. Keep the work in your abs—if your neck is starting to look like that of a constipated turtle, relax your shoulders and try to really squeeze your abs. For more intensity, lean back further or hold a small weight in your hands.

Say No to Sit-Ups and Crunches

By mixing and matching three to four of the following CrossFit moves into your training routine—even just once a week—with the high-intensity intervals and endurance runs prescribed, and you’ll benefit as a runner. (Click through the slideshow above to see the full workout.)

Deadlifts  image:

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, quadriceps, back

Purpose: Strengthens your posterior chain—the stride-driving muscles in your hamstrings and glutes

Stand with feet beneath a barbell, shins almost touching the bar, feet under hips. Keeping back straight and chest up, sit back into hips and grip the bar. Take a deep breath in and hold it as you push hips forward, keep arms straight, and lift the bar so it travels a vertical path along your body. Do one set of five to 10 reps.

Build on it: Increase weight over time until you reach a max weight you can lift two or three times for one set. Progress to three sets, aiming for five reps, three reps, then one rep of max.

Butterfly Situps    image:

Targets: Abdominals

Purpose: Challenges abs through a full range of motion

Sit on the floor, knees bent with soles of feet together and toes touching baseboard of a wall. Place a folded towel on the floor behind you, positioned under your lumbar spine when you lie back. Extend arms straight so fingertips touch the wall and, keeping your back straight, lie back until your shoulder blades touch the ground. Sit back up immediately and touch your fingertips to the wall. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Build on it: Aim for 50.

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