By Francesca Conlin | April 12, 2017 | Lifestyle
Your core is key to a healthier you inside and out. With Memorial Day Weekend fast approaching, we asked six local trainers for their tips on how to strengthen yours by the unofficial start of summer.
"There’s a very common misconception that building a strong core means doing more abs. You must focus on strengthening your back and glutes as well. I particularly like exercises utilizing weight solely in one hand, forcing every muscle on the opposite side to fire to maintain balance. Weighted exercises such as Single Arm Kettlebell Swings, Single Arm Snatches, Weighted Suitcase Deadlifts, and Weighted Overhead Split Squats are just a few moves that activate the muscles of the core by forcing your body to stabilize.”
"A strong core isn't about having six-pack abs for show, it's about strengthening the muscles which will keep you healthy and help you avoid injury. If you start now, just 10 minutes of core work every day could get you big results before Memorial Day Weekend. To begin, aim to do just two sets of 10-20 reps each of some floor exercises like side and prone planks, hip raises, and back extensions, and also standing balance exercises like one-legged squats and one-legged deadlifts.”
“To build a strong core, try a Pilates exercise. Execute your roll ups in a slow and controlled manner, which develops the core muscles: glutes, inner thighs, and abs. Start your first few weeks using three- to five-pound hand weights in the hands as you roll up and back down. When you are stronger, ditch the weights and use a Pilates circle squeezing between your palms instead.”
"The first place to start on your quest for a strong core—SoulCycle, of course! We are a true full-body workout. Your core is constantly engaged as you increase resistance on the bike, and we incorporate exercises like crunches and oblique twists to really work the trunk of your body. At the end of your ride, complete a four-minute plank series with one minute of full plank, one minute of forearm plank, one minute of raised leg plank on the right and left (30 seconds each side) and one minute of side plank (30 seconds each leg)."
“Diet and cardio are the keys if you really want to see the results of all your hard work. Aim for eating a clean diet—emphasis on "clean carbs and fiber”—85 percent of the time or better from now till Memorial Day. To fully develop our core we must work it through all its functions: Flexing of the spine down (upper body to lower body), flexing of the spine up (lower body to upper body), twisting left to right or right to left, and holding and stabilizing the spine.”
“Try a plank to pike at home. The action starts by contracting (squeezing) your lower abs. As you squeeze it will cause your hips to raise towards the ceiling folding in half. The goal is to get your hips as high as you can, keeping your legs straight and heels lifted. Slowly decelerate your body back to a plank position. Do every other day with three sets of 15 reps. This will target those elusive lower abs around your belly button.”
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA ANDREW FRITZ (CLARK); GREG POWERS (HOROWITZ); SOULCYCLE (EFFRON); MEREDITH HANAFI PHOTOGRAPHY (MCADAMS)