My Favourite Core Exercises

Well at least for right now!

Back in January Kristin at Oiselle asked us for our favourite core exercises, plus some pictures. Instead of just emailing them to her, I thought I’d share them.

I wanted all of these exercises to be ones you could do at home without having to invest in a lot of equipment (you’ll notice my basement in the background of most of these photos!) And I have to say thanks to The Runners Academy because many of these I learned from them.

So Kristin this if for you! In no particular order my favourite core exercises are:

1. Stir the Pot 
With a stability ball (or a kids hopping, bouncy ball in my case!), get yourself into a proper plank position. You may need to widen your foot or arm position to get your balance. With your arms move them in a clockwise direction for 6-10 rotations, then switch and go counter-clockwise.
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2. Plank Series
We all know and love the plank series. Front, side, other side and back. Go for 30-60 seconds per pose. You can make it more challenging by rotating between the 4 poses, adding in a dumbbell with your side planks, or raising one leg on any of the poses. Oh and you can always do the high plank series and go from bent elbows to straight elbows. Remember to keep those hips up and your back straight by keeping the core engaged.

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You can challenge yourself even more by doing the plank series on a raised platform. Raise and lower yourself from this elevated position. Repeat 10-20.IMG_8941

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3. Mountain Climbers
From a high, front plank position (or pushup position) bring one knee up to 90 degrees leaving the other leg extended back. ‘Hop’ and switch your front and back legs; your opposite knee should know be at your elbows. Remember to keep a flat back. Go for 30-60 seconds, it’s not just good for core but it gets your cardio going to!

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4. Dead Bug
Part 1: Lying on your back bring your hands and knees to meet (see below). Spend 10-30 seconds doing an active-isolated stretch; pushing your knees into your hands and resisting with your hands. Remember to keep your back flat against the ground breathing into your whole rib cage.
Part 2: Extend your opposite hand and leg keeping your back flat against the ground. Either do this via time (30-60s) or do between 20 and 60 repetitions per side.

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Part 1 of Dead Bug

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Part 2 of Dead Bug

5. Stability RollIMG_8930
My boyfriend calls this ‘the baby move.’ It’s a foundational movement to help strengthen your obliques. From the initial position of Dead Bug roll to one side and drive the opposite knee and hand forward. For instance, when rolling to the right you will push your finger tips and knee (which should be at a 45 degree angle) away from you. The movement should be driven by your hip flexor. Use your same side arm to support yourself. Don’t worry if you fall over the first few times or feel uncoordinated, it will eventually come together. Repeat 8-15 times per side

6. Anti-Rotation Stability
For this exercise you need a 1″ rubber band and something heavy to attach it to (like a couch leg as shown below).
Start in a lunge with your knee closest to the anchor point of the band on the ground. You need to have the 1″ band tight; you should feel like when you’re holding the band at your belly button that you want to twist inward toward it (this is where the anti-rotation comes from). Extend your arms out and then bring them back toward your belly button, all the while maintaining a quiet upper body. Repeat 10-20 times per side.
Remember, this exercise is less about pushing and more about preventing unwanted motion in your core and upper body. Make sure you pull the band tight enough to feel a pull back.

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Anti-Rotation Start Position

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Anti-Rotation Finish Position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Hip Thrusts (Back and Side)
I do two variations of this, one of my back and one on my side.
Back: Starting with your back flat against the ground, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push your heels into the ground to lift your butt up. You can make this more challenging by doing them one leg at a time. Repeat 10-20 times for each position.
Side: Start with your knees bent at 90 degrees, feet stacked on top of each other, with your legs resting on the ground. Hold your torso up by resting on your forearm (see below). Press your knee into the ground push your pelvis forward. Repeat 10-20 times per side.

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Back Hip Thrust Start Position

Back Hip Thrust Finish Position

Back Hip Thrust Finish Position

Back Hip Thrust One-Legged Finish Position

Back Hip Thrust One-Legged Finish Position

Side Hip Thrust Start Position

Side Hip Thrust Start Position

Side Hip Thrust Finish Position

Side Hip Thrust Finish Position

I wish you all happy training and a strong core!