Monday, November 30, 2009

Workin that Core

I have never been the queen of core strength. I did have a six pack during hockey season in high school, I think because I leaned over weird when I played hockey...but since then, my core strength has been minimal. One of my major goals for the month of December is to improve my core strength. This means I'll be working on the muscles that stabilize my midsection which include my abs, back, hips and butt muscles :)

Why work my core? Two reasons:
1. Improving your core muscles can help maintain proper alignment of your body, which can help you to be efficient in all exercise that you do. This is especially key for me since the running coach I met with about my knee mentioned that I tend to lean to my left, putting more stress on my left knee.
2. The core muscles, especially the ab muscles have always been a weakness of mine. Since I have started to really improve my leg muscles through knee physical therapy, the core is the area I'd like to work on next.

What is the plan?
I am going to specifically work on core muscles 4 days per week for the month of December (and hopefully beyond). I also want to do pilates more often (famous for working the core) and continue with spinning, which also works the core muscles. I have designed a core work out plan using moves from Angela's Whittle my Middle challenge, and some others I found online :)

1. The Plank
I didn't have to do any research to find this one. Everyone knows it whips your abs into shape and I could not be any more terrible at it. I had to STRUGGLE to get to 30 seconds today.
Goal: 2 minutes by Jan 1.

2. Side Plank
Also, one of those moves that screams core...and also a huge struggle of mine.
Goal: 2 minutes on each side by Jan 1.

3. Nose to Knee Crunch
I found this move online this weekend and I am in love with it. It's one of those moves you can just immediately feel. Basically, what you do, is put your arms on a stability ball and lean forward as though you are doing a push up on your ball. Then, you bring one knee at a time to your "nose." Serious exercise in balance...and core muscles.
Goal: 3 sets of 15 (maybe even on each side if I get really strong) by Jan 1.

Sorry about the unnecessary butt shots. Our "gym" room isn't really big enough for a normal photo shoot.

4. Stability Ball Jack Knives

Anyone who has done "The Shred" will share in my fear for these. I hate jack knives anyway, and add in the stability ball, ah! For this move you are going to put your feet on the stability ball and arms on the ground like you are doing a push up. Then, you use your core to bend your knees and pull the ball closer to your arms. Get ready for the butt shot...
Goal: 3 sets of 15 by Jan 1.

That is where I am going to start for now. Then, hopefully I can build on it with some additional exercises as I get better. The pilates video that I have been doing (Total Body Pilates on Exercise TV) mixes in a lot of butt moves, so I'm hoping that will supplement some of my ab/back moves.

What are your favorite core exercises? Do you make it a priority to work your core? For more information on core muscles and their importance in running, you can see my sister's post on the topic: All About Abs.

Also, check out Amber's blog today because she interviewed me on being a Kindergarten teacher.

Stay tuned to my blog tomorrow for a GIVEAWAY!


  1. Looks great! Sounds like a great goal. I need to get back into my core strengthening routine I used this summer for triathlon training. It consisted a lot of the same things you are doing! It makes a huge difference!

  2. I HATE ab exercises! My core is pretty weak. I've been working on them more often these days but I dread it. Funny thing is, I prefer planks and side planks over traditional ab work (like crunches). I avoid any exercises that strain my neck muscles. I'll have to try the knee to nose crunch... that looks like a good one & hopefully won't hurt my neck!!

    Nice butt! :)

  3. Your guest post on Amber's blog was awesome!

    I really need to work on my core a bit more. Err, a lot more. It's totally neglected. I run and then by the time I am done with that, I am exhausted and just stretch and go home. i need to start spicing up my routine or something. I've kind of gotten into a rut! Good suggestion on exercises to work your core!

  4. I'm marking this one - I totes need to work on my core too!
    Loved your interview on Amber's blog. Annnd I have that same dress! Never would have thought to put a ls black tee under it. I'm sooo copying you next week! :o)

  5. Great exercises! My hip injury has been annoying cause I've lost a ton of core strength--doing almost all ab exercises strains my iliopsoas muscle :/ But when I'm injury free, I definitely make sure to do ab exercises about every other day and switch it up to keep challenging the muscles :)

  6. I've been trying to work my core lately too! I've been doing mostly planks, side planks and bicycle crunches. I've been trying to do a full five minutes of core and BOY is it hard!!

    Love some of these moves and I will definitely be using them!! I especially like the nose to knee crunch!

  7. You are definitely motivating me to try this! I have been walking and getting on the treadmill lately. I must incorporate this in my exercise routine.

  8. Those exercises look good. I have been doing more abs lately since they are included in Jillian's workouts. I love/hate a good plank. The one that really gets me is the walking plank. That one is tough. I always feel bad doing the plank jacks because I live above another apartment and I can only imagine how much banging they hear.

    I love your idea of a focus on pilates this month. I need to do more pilates too! I have a video of pliates for buns and thighs that I would like to do a few times a week.


  9. Thanks so much for the tip! I just made the decision to do it today, but I've heard a lot of good things about that program and I'll definitely have to check it out! You're so right, planks just kill. Part of me loves that you "feel the burn" immediately, and the other part of me always is screaming, "why do you hate yourself?!"
    I love the blogging circle, as you saw my comment on Stephany's post and I loved your feature this morning on Amber's blog! :)

  10. UGHHH I NEED to start do ab workouts! Officially this post has inspired me to do so, haha. THANKSS :)

  11. I love that name, Widdle Miy Middle! These moves look really good, and I should start doing some. I used to have a six pack too, even just a year ago! I have sort of let my core muscles go, but not totally. I think pilates nd yoga really helps, but since I'm doing less running I am not giving my abs enough of a challenge. I am asking for a ball like yours for Christmas, that will help!

    Good luck with your goals, keep us updated!

  12. Way to go, I'm impressed with your workouts and should definitely start putting a little more variety in mine :)

  13. Yeah, I have to jump on the ab bandwagon as wel. It is getting dire....

  14. I say you begin "Kelly's Kore" Challenge in the month of December. This will give me motivation to do abs. My goal is to go to Pilates today, but I may not feel like it after a full day of class..

  15. Call me crazy, but strangely enough I love doing the plank!! I don't even understand it. And actually in general, I'm really starting to like doing abs whereas I used to HATE it! I don't even recognize myself :| lol ;)

  16. My middle hurts just LOOKING at those exercises. Good for you!!!

  17. great workouts!

    try plank on the ball, rest forearms on the ball, feet on the ground and alternating brining yoru knees in!

  18. I always do a few minutes of planks as part of my ab workouts. But I definitely need to start doing side planks too!

  19. Try Abs and Back with Amy Dixon on ExerciseTV to work both your front and back. It's a great/safe workout.

  20. I really want to get back into strength-training. When I have time to exercise, I just do cardio but I know I need to also incorporate strength-training.

    I might try some of your moves! I subscribe to Shape magazine and they give so many good exercises to try! The two moves I hate are the plank and side plank. (HATE the side plank!) My goal might be to do it for 10 seconds by January. ;)

    Thanks for following - and I became your 100th follower! Yay, me!

  21. I really need a stability ball. It has been on my xmas list two years in a row now. I offically emailed my husband a link two minutes ago haha. I have a pilates video that is a 10 minute focus on each major group. I really should get back into doing it! Nice guest post. :)

  22. Those are some great goals... very specific.

  23. amen I need to focus on abs. Whittle my middle helped me to get jump started again!

  24. ditto! except i never had a 6-pack, so i'm jealous :) great ab 'workouts'/exercises! loved the shots to help explain them. ...i mean that in a non-sketchy-looking-at-your-butt way of course!

  25. Keep it Up! Check out Jillian Michales also at Can you believe that the guy on "Biggest Loser" lost over 200 pounds. Crazy!

  26. That is a workout for me these days. but even if i can do something for ten minutes while baby naps or plays, I pat my own back.

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