Killer Core Workout

Photography:  Peter Brown Apparel: Body Aware

Photography: Peter Brown
Apparel: Body Aware

When it comes to core workouts, I like to dedicate one day during the week to just core exercises. This workout is the one that I have been using for the past few weeks to help build and tone my core. So far I have been feeling and seeing some great results. The thing I really like about this workout is that it does not only focus on one area of your abdominals, but instead focuses on your entire midsection from your abs, to your obliques, and even your lower back. This workout consists of groups of exercises that should be done right after another followed by a long rest. This will test your endurance and will help give you the results you are looking for. Try it out and let me know what you think.

KILLER CORE WORKOUT!

Cardio and Warmup:
30 minutes of Cardio
10 minutes of Stretching

Group 1: (3 sets)
Leg Lifts with Alternating Stability Ball x 15 reps (Click Here)
Reverse Crunch with Stability Ball x 25 reps (Click Here)
Leg Lifts With Stability Ball x 10 reps (Click Here)
90 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 2: (3 sets)
Kettlebell Side Bend x 20 reps on right
Kettlebell Side Bend x 20 reps on left
Ab roller x 15 reps
90 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 3: (3 sets)
Raised Side Plank on right x Hold for 1 minute (Click Here)
Raised Side Plank on left x Hold for 1 minute (Click Here)
Toes to Bar x 10 reps
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 4: (3 sets)
Hollow Hold x Hold for 1 minute or until failure
60 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this exercise

Group 5:
Back hyperextensions x 200 reps. Rest when needed.
* I usually do about 5-10 at a time and then rest for about 5-10 seconds.
Stretch

That is my Killer Core Workout that I have been doing once a week for the past month. It is definitely not easy, but it will help get you a strong and toned core. Let me know what you think of the workout and contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Wall Walks

Wall Walk 1

Wall Walk 2

Wall Walk 3

Wall Walk 4

One of the most common questions I get asked is how to do a handstand. This exercise is one of the best ways to learn how. Wall Walks strengthen your core and your shoulder muscles, they help you practice your stability, and because many people are afraid of falling and/or being upside-down, wall walks allow you to become more comfortable with the movement of a handstand while still feeling supported. Wall Walks are also a very important step in learning handstand pushups.

To Perform Wall Walks:
1. With your feet against the wall, start in a pushup plank position.
2. Slowly walk your legs up the wall by pushing your hands into the floor and feet into the wall.
3. Walk your hands back toward the wall as your feet get higher.
4. Crawl your feet up the wall as high as you feel comfortable. Hold this position for 3 seconds.
5. While walking your hands forward, slowly walk your feet back down the wall and return to the push-up plank position.
6. Repeat Steps 2-5 for the allotted amount of reps.

TIPS:
1. Only go to a height where you feel comfortable. You will still be strengthening your core and shoulders even if you don’t go all the way up the wall. Once you become comfortable, try getting higher until you can walk all the way up.
2. It is not a bad idea to have someone watch as your perform this exercise. It is good to have someone to catch you in case you want to try pushing yourself, but it is also important to have someone watch your form and make sure you are doing this exercise correctly.
3. Keep your core tight and back straight. It is very common to curve your back during this exercise which will compromise form and possibly cause muscle strain.
4. This exercise is to be done slowly. Having slow control of this exercise is key to activating the correct muscles.
5. I like to do about 3 sets of 5 reps.

Have you ever tried Wall Walks? Do you want to learn to do a handstand? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.

Raised Shoulder Pushups

Raised Shoulder Pushup: Step 1

Raised Shoulder Pushup: Step 2

Once you have mastered the regular Shoulder Pushup, it is now time to increase the difficulty. These Raised Shoulder Pushups are the second step in the progression toward achieving handstand pushups. This exercise will help activate and strengthen the muscles in your back, shoulders, arms and core that you need to perform the more difficult handstand pushup.

To Perform Raised Shoulder Pushups:
1. While facing the forward, start by putting your hand on the ground and legs up on a raised surface behind you(bench or table).
2. Straighten your legs and straighten your back to create and ‘L’ Shape with your body. You will need to activate your core to hold this position.
3. Bend at the elbows and lower so your head is just above the floor.
4. Push back up to straighten your arms and return to the ‘L’ position.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the allotted amount of reps.

TIPS:
1. If you have not tried regular shoulder pushups prior to this exercise, please Click Here to see how to perform a shoulder pushup.
2. Keep your back and legs straight to activate your shoulders, core and lats correctly.
3. Really use your core to keep the ‘L” shape in your body. Do not let your hips droop.
4. The tall the surface the harder the exercise is, so try starting with something that is only a few inches off the ground first and then work your way up to a taller surface such as a table.
5. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Don’t lift your head to look at the floor. That will cause unnecessary tension.

Have you tried Raised Shoulder Pushups? Are you working on getting handstand pushups? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, stories, or ideas for other topics.

Shoulder Pushups

Shoulder Pushup: Step 1

Shoulder Pushup: Step 2

This is the first step in the progression toward achieving Handstand Pushups. To achieve a Handstand Pushup, you must have great shoulder, back, and tricep strength, but also a good core strength to maintain your balance while on your hands. Shoulder Pushups are an excellent way to start strengthening these muscles.

To Perform Shoulder Pushups:
1. Start in a Normal Pushup Plank Position
2. Walk your hands back and lift your hips toward the ceiling to create an upside down ‘V’ position with your body. Keep your legs and back as straight as possible and stay up on your toes.
3. Bend at the elbows and lower so your head is just above the floor.
4. Push back up to return to the V position.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the allotted amount of reps.

TIPS:
1. Keeping your back and legs straight will help engage the proper muscles during this exercise. Most of the work should be done by your shoulders, however you will also feel your lats activating if done correctly.
2. Focus on keeping your hips up toward the ceiling. Don’t let them droop!
3. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Don’t lift your head to look at the floor. That will cause unnecessary tension.
4. Try doing 3 sets of 10 reps at first and build your way up to 3 sets of 20 reps. Once you can do 3 sets of 20 reps, increase the difficulty by trying Elevated Shoulder Pushups (Put your legs on a bench or table).

Have you tried Shoulder Pushups? Are you working on getting handstand pushups? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, stories, or ideas for other topics.

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions with a Stability Ball

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions follow the same concept as Reverse Hyperextensions that are done on the ground, however when elevated you are able to increase your range of motion and challenge your core stabilization. To perform the exercise, all you need is an exercise ball and either a bench or a table. If you have not tried Reverse Hyperextensions on the floor, Click Here to view my past post and to see how to perform the exercise.

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions: Step 1

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions: Step 2



To do Elevated Reverse Ball Hyperextensions:
1. Place the Exercise ball on the elevated surface (table or bench).
2. Carefully lie down, facing forward, with your abdomen on top of the exercise ball. Grab the sides of the bench or table with your hands. Keep your legs straight and have your feet as low as you can have them. They should not be on the bench or table, but rather over the side.
3. While keeping your legs extended, raise your legs up as high as you can.
4. Slowly lower your legs back down.
4. Repeat Steps 3-4 for the allotted amount of reps. (I like to do 5 sets of 10 reps.)





TIPS:
1. Be careful when you are on top of the table or bench. Use your core and your arms to stabilize yourself. If you feel like you are tipping over, try performing Reverse Hyperextensions on the ground. Click Here to see how to perform this exercise on the ground.
2. This exercise is not about speed or how high you can get your legs, but it is all about the form. Control the motion and take your time with each rep.
3. When your legs are at the highest point, try to hold the position for about a second before you lower your legs back down. This will increase you muscle activation and make the exercise more affective.
4. Do not use the ball to bounce your legs up in the air. Doing so could cause muscle strain or you could possibly fall off the bench or table which may lead to many other injuries.

Do you like this exercise? Do you have any other exercises you like to do? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, or ideas for other posts.

Reverse Hyperextensions with a Stability Ball

Reverse Back Hyperextension: Step 1

Reverse Back Hyperextension: Step 2

Reverse Hyperextensions are a great exercise to help tone and strengthen your lower back while also working your glutes. Although this exercise is pretty easy to do, and it may even look fun, when done correctly, you will feel a burn in your lower back region. All you need for this exercise is an exercise ball.

To do Reverse Ball Hyperextensions:
1. Lie down, facing forward, with your hips on top of the exercise ball. Place your forearms on the floor, and your feet should be just off the floor. Keep your legs straight.
2. While keeping your legs extended, raise your legs up as high as you can.
3. Slowly lower your legs back down to about an inch above the floor.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for the allotted amount of reps. (I like to do 5 sets of 10 reps.)

TIPS:
1. These should be slow controlled motions. You really want to feel a nice tightening in your lower back when you raise your legs.
2. When your legs are at the highest point, try to hold the position for about a second before you lower your legs back down. This will increase you muscle activation and make the exercise more affective.
3. This exercise can be done with your feet together or apart. I like to keep mine together, but if you do separate them, keep your feet shoulder width apart.
4. Do not use the ball to bounce your legs up in the air. Doing so could cause muscle strain or injury due to the fast motion from the bounce.

Do you like this exercise? Do you have any other exercises you like to do to strengthen your lower back? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, or ideas for other posts.

Full Circle Fire Hydrants

Circle Fire Hydrants: Step 1

Circle Fire Hydrants: Step 2

Circle Fire Hydrants: Step 3

Circle Fire Hydrants: Step 4

Circle Fire Hydrants: Step 5

To be honest, I don’t know what to call this exercise because I made it up about a year ago and I have been doing it ever since. I took an exercise called ‘The Fire Hydrant’ and basically made it more complicated so I could target all areas of my glutes. I decided to use the name ‘Full Circle Fire Hydrants’ because you follow a circle pattern with your leg during the exercise. It may look easy, but if done correctly, your glutes will be on fire.

To Perform FULL CIRCLE FIRE HYDRANTS:
1. Start with your hands and knees both on the floor. Create a table top with your back and keep your hands and knees both shoulder width apart. (Picture 1)
2. With your left knee and both hands on the ground, lift your right knee and pull it into your chest. Crunch your torso toward the knee and contract your core. (Picture 2)
3. Now rotate your hip to raise the knee to your right side. Your knee should still be bend and your leg should be parallel to the ground. (Picture 3)
4. Extend and straighten your right leg keeping it parallel to the floor. (Picture 4)
5. Slowly move your leg toward the back. Your leg should be behind you now. (Picture 5)
6. Bend the right leg and return your right knee to your chest. Crunch your body toward your knee and contract your core. (Picture 2)
7. Repeat steps 3-7 for the allotted amount of reps (I usually do 10), and then repeat on the other side.

TIPS:
1. This exercise is all about form. Do not compromise form!
2. Hold each position of the leg for one second before moving onto the next step. Each movement should be nice and controlled.
3. Keep your shoulders square. It is ok to bend your elbows during this exercise if you need more stabilization, but do not twist your shoulders.
4. When I bring my knee to my chest (Step 2), I like to crunch toward my knee. Tighten your core and breathe out while your knee is in this position to give you abs a nice squeeze.
5. When extending your knee to the side (Step 4), keep your leg turned in. Some people may want to twist their leg so their knee faces the ceiling, but your knee should be facing forward.
6. After bringing your leg behind you (Step 5), it is good if you can raise your leg past parallel. Raise your leg as high as you can without bending your knee. You should feel a nice squeeze in your glutes.

Do you think you may try this exercise next time you are at the gym? If you do, let me know what you think of it. Do you have any questions, comments, or any ideas for other topics? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

One Arm Medicine Ball Pushups

One Arm Med Ball Pushup: Step 1

One Arm Med Ball Pushup: Step 2

One Arm Med Ball Pushup: Step 3

One Arm Med Ball Pushup: Step 4

Do you want a new chest exercise that will really stretch and activate your pecs? This exercise activates all areas of your chest, works on your stabilization skills, and also gives your pecs a nice pull allowing your muscles to lengthen and grow.

To perform a One Arm Medicine Ball Pushups:
1. Start in a Pushup Plank Position with one hand on the floor and one hand on top of a medicine ball.
2. Lower into a pushup keeping one hand on the medicine ball.
3. Return to the Pushup Plank Position.
4. Roll the ball to the opposite hand and repeat the exercise.
5. Continue rolling the ball from one hand to the other with a pushup in between. I like to do 10 reps (20 pushups, 10 on the right, 10 on the left).

TIPS:
1. Activate your core in order to stabilize your body. When lowering into the push position, you should not tip to one side or droop your body to the floor.
2. Your chest should be parallel to the floor. If you tilt your shoulders, your chest will no longer be parallel and you will not be using the correct muscles during the exercise. (In the second picture, my shoulders are a little lopsided. Try to avoid this positioning and aim for a more parallel look like the positioning I achieved in the third picture. Form is important for this and every exercise).
3. Your feet can be wide, shoulder width apart, or together. The closer your feet are, the more your core will need to activate to stabilize your body.
4. I like to alternate sides during the exercise, rolling the ball to the opposing hand between each pushup. Other people may recommend doing all 10 pushups on one side, and then switching to the other hand to do the other 10. Either way works well, I just find continuously alternating makes the exercise more challenging because you are constantly shifting your weight and positioning.

Do you enjoy this workout? Do you have any other chest workouts that may be helpful? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or ideas for other blog topics.

Rolling Pistol Squats

Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 1

Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 2

Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 3

Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 4

Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 5

One of the benchmark exercises to do in any CrossFit gym is a Pistol Squat. Pistol Squats involve only using one leg to squat down and push back up to the standing position. This exercise is very difficult and requires a lot of practice and strength to complete. Rolling Pistol Squats are an easier variation of the standard Pistol Squat because they allow you to use momentum to your advantage. Rolling Pistol Squats are also a great cardio and full body workout.

To Perform a Rolling Pistol Squat:
1. Start in the standing position with both feet on the floor.
2. Squat down with your glutes as close to the floor as possible and create a comfortable curve in your back to prepare to roll backward.
3. Roll backward onto your back and raise your legs in the air.
4. Using the momentum of throwing your legs forward, place one foot on the ground as close to your glutes as possible with the other leg straight out in front of you and stand up.
5. Once standing, put the leg that is straight out in front of you back down to return to the standing position.
6. Repeat the exercise from Step 2 and alternate legs with each rep.

TIPS:
1. When I roll backward, I like to keep my legs straight and bring my legs as close to my chest as I can. I give them a light pull with my hands and this allows me to give my hamstrings a stretch.
2. The closer you can place your foot to you glutes when you role forward, the easier it will be to stand up.
3. Momentum is key! Quickly bring your legs forward to make the push up from the floor easier.
4. For anyone with a knee or hip injury, any variation of a pistol squat is not recommended. Never do a workout that causes you pain. Listen to your body!
5. Rolling Pistol Squats are great to help tone your legs, but they also wok your core and provide a good cardio workout as well. I like to use Rolling Pistol Squats in between other exercises to keep my heart rate up. I usually do about 16 reps per set (8 on each leg), and about 3-5 sets during my workout.

Have you ever tried Rolling Pistol Squats? Do you plan on adding these to your workout routine? I really appreciate any feedback. Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

BOSU Burpees

Back to BURPEES! I promised that I would show you other versions of Burpees and the one I am about to show you is one of my favorites. For this variation, you will need to use a BOSU ball. These BOSU Burpees intensify your workout by adding stability and resistance components to your burpee.

To do a BOSU Burpee:
1. Start in a standing position holding the BOSU Ball handles with the ball facing away from your body.
2. Squat down and place the BOSU ball on the ground. (The flat side should be facing up and the ball side should be on the floor)
3. Jump your feet back to put yourself in a plank position while still holding the BOSU ball handles.
3a. Optional Pushup
4. Jump your feet forward to return to the squat position.
5. Raise the BOSU ball above your head.
6. Jump up. While jumping, press the BOSU ball up toward the ceiling.
7. Repeat from Step #1.

Tips:
1. If you are not familiar with Burpees, or forget some of the tips I have given to get the most out of these exercises, check out my ‘How to do a Burpee’ Post before trying this more difficult variation of the exercise. It is important to understand the body mechanics of the basic exercise before trying more difficult variations in order to prevent injury.
2. Remember, when squatting down, try and get your glutes low to the floor.
3. Activate your core while in the plank position. The BOSU Ball will add an additional stability aspect to the exercise which will require more core strength and activation than the Basic Burpee.
4. When jumping during this exercise, you also press the BOSU Ball up toward the ceiling. Adding the BOSU ball will not only add weight to your jump making the jump more difficult, but it will also help tone your shoulders while pressing the BOSU Ball up.

Bosu Burpee: Step 1

Bosu Burpee: Step 1

Bosu Burpee: Step 2

Bosu Burpee: Step 2

Bosu Burpee: Step 3

Bosu Burpee: Step 3

Bosu Burpee: Step 3a (optional pushup)

Bosu Burpee: Step 3a

Bosu Burpee: Step 3a (finish optional pushup)

Bosu Burpee: Step 3a

Bosu Burpee: Step 4

Bosu Burpee: Step 4

Bosu Burpee: Step 5

Bosu Burpee: Step 5

Bosu Burpee: Step 6

Bosu Burpee: Step 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you any variations of Burpees that you like to include in your workout routine? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.