Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reader Request: Quick Core Killer

Really this should be called Sister Request but Reader sounds more bloggish. I am a firm believer that to build a strong core we need a well rounded exercise routine rather than just 1000 crunches. Crunches have their place, sure, but in order to support long distance running, headstands, baby carrying, or any other day to day movement it is important to work the WHOLE core (everything from the hips to the armpits). Not just the crunch muscles. Sister agrees so she gets a slideshow of moves in her honor. I did not find my camera so these pictures look like security camera footage on the news. My apologies. Also, I took them between running and showering so I myself look like I could be on COPS. Just be glad you can't smell blogs!

The slideshow is to give a demonstration of the basic moves. See below for more descriptive instructions.

Quick Core Killer
1. Hold plank 30 seconds

2. 3 legged dog to sunbird flow- in downward dog kick one leg into the air (3 legged dog pose), lower the hips till you're almost in plank pose, pulling the knee in to touch (or point towards) the nose (sunbird 1). Kick the leg back up, lower down with the knee to opposite side elbow, kick it up, lower down with knee to same side elbow. Make sense? So it's three 3 legged dog poses, 3 different sunbird variations. Do this on the other side for one set. Do 4 sets (12 reps each side) total. 

3. Side Plank Twists- In side plank on an elbow, place the fingers of your top hand behind your ear. Crunch towards the floor, bringing the elbow to almost touch but staying about an inch above the floor. Lift back up, that's one. Do 12 each side.

4. Side Plank Crunches- In side plank on an elbow, bend top knee and crunch to touch elbow and knee. Try to do it without dropping the hips to the floor. 12 each side.

5. Walking Plank- Start in plank pose, bend one elbow at a time and place the forearm on the mat so you end up in elbow plank. Push back up one hand at a time to full plank. That's one, repeat for 12. Try to keep hips and shoulders level so you're not rocking all over the place. 

6. Boat pose- Balance on your bum and suck your belly in, push your chest up to make a straight back. I show two variations depending on how much you want to feel the burn. Knees bent, barely leaning or kick it up to straight legs, leaning back more. Hold for 30 seconds. 

7. Oblique Twists- In kids' yoga we call this windshield wiper legs, you choose your title. Lay on your back with legs at a 90 degree angle. The knees are directly over the hips. Reach your hands out to the sides for balance and lower both legs to one side, hovering about an inch off the mat. Lift and go to the other side. That's 1, repeat for 12. Move carefully with your focus on the obliques, rather than just swinging your legs all willy nilly. 

You can change it up by adding more repetitions OR completing the whole set and then starting over at the beginning, circuit style. Let me know what YOU think. What's your favorite core exercise, if any? Do you loathe crunches like I do? 


  1. Gracias!! This is awesome. Yes, I hate crunches.. trying to not hate planks. Boat pose makes you look like you need a sandwich, haha. "Swinging your legs all willy nilly" is basically my current core workout so really anything will be an improvement.

  2. Hahaha! Planks will get easier, promise. Boat pose is not doing my neck any favors but I couldn't get a pic without that as much as I tried haha

  3. I'm so glad about you doing yoga stuff again! I NEED this! Thanks, friend :)

  4. Great post.

    Hope you had a great weekend!:)