Weigh-in 165lbs. Today, I set a new priority. Although I’m doing well with the biking & the running, I have put off the weight training & core work outs for as long as I can. I am 44 days away from the ride/surf trip. And we know what happened last time: <Cass & I haven’t surfed in a long time. Last time we went, I couldn’t get up. My arms weren’t strong enough to hoist my weight up to stand. [whine alert] It was a sad & dismal day. I remember standing on shore, watching her out in the breaking waves, thinking ‘why did you let this happen, how much more are you going to give up because you have no self-control’. I was 15 lbs lighter than I am now. Sad.>
So, here I am today, 15lbs lighter than when I wrote that. At the same weight I was when I couldn’t get up on my board. What is going to make it different this time? I am going to have to do my weight training & core work outs EVERY SINGLE DAY. So, every day, after posting my weigh in, I will post that I either did or did not do the weights & the core w/o.
I want to start by learning about my core. Your body core is the midsection of your body, from your groin to your shoulders. This includes the pelvis, abs, back and chest muscles. It is this core that offers stability, balance and flexibility.
Transverse Abdominal (TVA) is a very important stabilizer of the lower back. It is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and the only one that runs horizontal.
Rectus Abdominisis located along the front of the abdomen, this is the most well-known abdominal muscle and is often referred to as the “six-pack” due to it’s appearance in fit and thin individuals. Erector Spinae is the group of three muscles runs along your neck to your lower back.
Multifidusis located under the erector spinae along the vertebral column, these muscles extend and rotate the spine. External Obliques are located on the side and front of the abdomen. Internal Obliques are located under the external obliques, running in the opposite direction.
Hip Flexors are located in front of the pelvis and upper thigh. The muscles that make up the hip flexors include: psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus and sartorius. Gluteus medius & minimus are located at the side of the hip. Hip abductors are located at medial thigh.
I find it helpful to know about all the muscles so when I’m preforming exercises so I can isolate better. Working your core effectively uses isometric force. Isometric exercises are important because they solve several problems. Weak muscles will not contract with most strengthening exercises because dominant muscles will compensate, and muscle imbalances may occur through repetitive use of the same muscle causing the body to go into “protective” mode.
The first exercise is critical in re-establishing good communication between the brain and the key stabilizer muscles (TVA). Lie on your back and cross your left leg over right leg. Your left heel should be next to the right knee. Rotate right approx 30 degrees your left hip will come off the ground several inches. Push knee into the wall 6 times for 6 seconds. Start lightly and increase pressure each time. If you feel cramping in the inner thigh you are pressing too hard. This exercise will activate the TVA and should be followed up by regular abdominal exercises.
Bicycle Crunch is the best exercise for strengthening the Rectus Abdominus. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Breath evenly throughout the exercise.
The Reverse Crunch is great for strengthening the Obliques. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands on the floor or behind the head. Bring your knees up towards the chest so they bend about 90 degrees. Contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor in a very small movement. Lower and repeat.
The Plank exercise is effective for developing static strength to hold the body in a straight line posture. The value gained from doing the plank exercise is specific only to holding the position. This is what we need to hold our stomachs in & our backs straight. Start in the plank position with your forearms flat on the floor and your toes on the floor. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds. Then increase the repetitions.
Leg Lifts are great to isolate your quadriceps but they also strengthen your hip flexors while increasing your balance. You can do a full set of these, or you can alternate between front and sideways to mix it up. Start by laying flat on the mat and lift your legs up. Bring back to start and repeat many times. Inhale on lift, exhale back to start. Push your spine into the mat. Stabilize your back & ab muscles. Only do a few at fisrt, this is taxing on your back muscles. An alternate move is to do this standing, holding onto a chair.
Lastly, the only concentric exercise to strengthen the TVA. It’s called The Beach Ball. Use a 13″ diameter beach ball and a about a 6″ piece of 1/8″ diameter plastic tubing (gas line)inserted into the valve of the beach ball. Now attempt to inflate the ball with as few breaths as possible. Blow till you can’t exhale anymore.
The narrow tube and the ball create resistance, especially on the last breath. The longer the tube, the more resistance also. Each exhale takes about 15 LONG seconds. So for 4 breaths (inhale plus exhale) your looking at about 75 seconds. This exercise will change your life.
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