Getting Ready for the Competition Season: Strengthen Your Core

People often say the secret to a successful relationship is to have a strong and solid foundation. It’s an engineering thing, the key to building a good structure, be it a house, a building or a bridge, is the foundation. The foundation for any athlete is their core; a healthy relationship between yourself and your sport is based on the strength of your core.

The good news, you can improve your core strength easily!

A couple of years ago I started to workout consistently with a friend of mine. She and I are very different athletes and we essentially try and torture each others weaknesses; it’s all in good fun! But we always end our workouts with a 10 minute core workout. We do consistent repeats of 30 seconds to 1 minute of different ab exercises for 10 minutes. Sounds easy?! Try it sometime.

Some ideas to get your core stronger:

  • The plank series . Start on your elbows with the front plank , both sides and then reverse. Hold each for 30 seconds. Want to make it harder? Lift your leg 10-15 times per side for each exercise. Hold each pose for 1 minute. Still want more of challenge? Do it with straight arms, hands planted firmly on the ground. Other variations: on a exercise ball, lift one arm when doing forward or reverse plank, use TRX straps and suspend your feet or arms.
  • Yoga poses: The downward dog series. Any of the of one legged poses (tree pose, dancers pose, one legged/karate stands). The warrior series. Boat pose. Cobra.
  • Good ole regular sit ups : Start with regular crunches, full sit ups, full sit ups with your legs extended straight, knees bent and leaning to one side, opposite foot on opposite knee, v-sits… it’s endless! Aim to start at 30 second repeats and work your way up to 1 minute.

There are so many ways to improve core strength. Start at 5 minutes and work your way up to 10 minutes per day. My favourite time to do core is immediately following a workout, be it a run, a ride or a lift/gym workout. But you can start your day with a core workout while you wait for your coffee to brew. Lock yourself in a boardroom at work and get out some of that frustration. Or as you finish your day with your favourite television show.