Tag Archives: core

365 Challenge Day 231 – Yoga: Core

20 Feb

I may be just scratching the surface, but I feel like I’m finally accessing my core strength.  My teachers say it is much much more than just ab muscles.  That part is still a fuzzy for me.  But in the area of the abs, I can really feel my muscles engaging, A LOT!  And it’s great!

I’ve never had great balance.  I did dance as a child and a teen and whenever I would go up onto one foot, I was always very wobbly.  This was very frustrating because I was taking pretty advanced classes as a teen, but couldn’t master this basic skill.  And my core was always very weak.  I don’t know how some people have naturally strong abs!  But I certainly didn’t!!  I remember one of my friends in high school poking me in the stomach for fun, and then being shocked at how “soft” my stomach was.  I was very thin, but still had a soft stomach, hers was taught and hard!

Now, I feel my core muscles engaging throughout the day.  Just walking around, I can feel them.  My balance has improved!! I go up on my tip toes and feel very solid, no wobbling!  Of course, I also try to feel my core engaged during yoga class in different postures, to lengthen the spine and take any pressure off the back.

I can still only hold plank for less than a minute though, so I know I still have a ways to go…


365 Challenge Day 175 – Plank fun

24 Nov

Who would have guessed doing plank could be so fun?

I work in a fairly corporate and professional environment, but there are a few folks around that know how to have fun.  Some of my co-workers in another unit are doing a 30 day plank challenge, starting at holding 20 seconds, and working towards a full five minutes!! (Personally I think this is overly optimistic for 30 days, but I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble.)

Well, I joined in the challenge, and at noon about 10 of us met up, found spots in between the cubicles, dropped onto our stomachs right on the carpet, and got into plank!!  Giggling the whole time!  Or, at least I was.  Some people seemed less amused.  I heard a voice whine behind me, “This sucks.” I thought it was hilarious.  I was really hoping the CFO or someone, anyone, would walk by but no such luck.  Next time!!

This was the motivational email that was sent out for us : )

Russel Crowe, Quote, Inspirational, Gladiator, Inspirational Movie quotes


365 Challenge Day 6 – Core

21 May

One of my important goals for this year (and every year!) is to really, really, really work on core strength.  This one is not about vanity, it is 100% about health and well-being!

A couple of years ago my back started to really hurt, well… I may have hurt it by overdoing king dancer pose… and I went to physical therapy.  I was very surprised when my PT tested my core strength at how weak I was!  The thing was I could do many of the balancing poses in yoga that they say require core.  As it turns out, I had been doing them without engaging the core, but by sinking into my back in uncomfortable and damaging ways.  My hip flexor muscles were also in knots from sitting in the office all day every day, affecting my back, but that’s another story.

During that period I also saw an orthopedic surgeon and a chiropractor. They showed me how two of my vertebrae were nearly touching, had lost most of the cushion between them, and had some arthritis (arthritis!?!?!  way to make me feel old!!)  But here’s the thing, doing the PT exercises actually helped.  Once I strengthened those muscles supporting the back the pain went away.  Now when I do my balancing poses, I can feel when I’m locking into and engaging the core muscles.

So far since I started my challenge I have done my exercises every day, and tonight I did some extra.  I don’t usually count when doing these, I just keep going until I get tired.  But tonight I counted so I would have a bit of a baseline.  I would say I usually do about 100 or 120 reps all together. While laying on my back I did 35 leg lifts on each side, then 40 alternating with both knees bent.  Tonight I also did about 40 slow bicycles, but I don’t usually do those. Oh, and I did plank and side plank on both sides, each for a slow count of 10.  Every day might be overly optimistic going forward, but I would like to do most days.  And at home I’ll add ankle weights to the leg lifts (don’t worry, I have my PT’s permission : )

I like to plank on my elbows to protect my wrists.


photo credit: rawrebecca.files.wordpress.com

Side plank exercisephoto credit: fitgolf.com