The Best Core Strengthening Exercise Ever
For a great core strengthening exercise you just cannot go past the plank. There is simply no better exercise to tighten up your core muscles. And when you have mastered the plank (aka- bridge or hover) there are plenty of variations to try out!
But firstly it will help to know what your core is and why we need to strengthen it! Your core muscles are the ones that sit under neath your ab muscles. Your ‘six-pack’ ab muscles sit on the out side and they are the ones that you see when you strip the fat back.
This core strengthening exercise works the muscles that are deeper in, and sit behind your ab muscles. They also run all the way around your side under your obliques and around to your lower back. Which brings me to the reason for tightening the core. The number one reason is to hols that area in tight like a belt and to protect your lower back.
So here is how to perform the best core strengthening exercise –the plank.
1– You will perform the plank resting on your forearms and toes in a horizontal position facing the ground. Your body has to be in a complete straight line from your shoulders right down to your ankles.
2- Tense you stomach muscles by drawing them in and slightly up. Make sure you don’t push your stomach out. For this core strengthening exercise to work, you have to turn the core on in the same way you would tense your stomach if you were about to be punched in the stomach. So you draw you belly button in and slightly up. You must be able to breathe still!
3- From this position you have to try and hold your body there for as long as you possibly can. Try and beat your time each training session. Then we can look at another, or a variation of this core strengthening exercise.
4- If your back gets sore it is because your lower back is dipping towards the ground. So either; your core muscles are not turned on or they are fatigued and need a rest before doing another plank.
5- To stop this happening you need to tilt your pelvis so the front top bones get as close as possible to your ribs. Almost like you are doing a crunch in mid air. Leave your lower back up and try to tuck your bum under as if you are crushing a watermelon in between your ribs and your hips where your stomach is.
That is the ultimate core strengthening exercise ever invented. It takes a little practise but once you have it you can turn those same muscles on throughout the day (like right now!) and have a tighter, stronger, sexier mid-section, and a pain free, safer, stronger back.
Work harder, work smarter
Swimming outdoors is different to swimming in a pool. Practice swimming in different environments (check safe first) as rock pools, lakes, harbours, and protected beaches. The main difference is not having a black line to follow, and no wall to rest on, plus you may need to lift head up and arms more from the water (to see and lift above swell). Whilst swimming in an event aim to observe and follow the more experienced swimmers.Wollongong Harbour is mostly protected and offers shelter from the seas and most winds but it can get bumpy depending on tide and water activity. The water is mostly clean and you can see the bottom on most days. Lifeguards patrol the waters and as a small boat harbour, it is well away from any commercial large vessels. Build up distance. If your aim is 200m (kids or ladies tryaqua) or the short (400m swim) or long (900m), work up to achieving half of the distance in one go. Once you achieve this, add two lots of half distance (ie 200m + 200m with a minute or two rest), than reduce the ‘rest’ to when you can pretty well make the full distance – ideally aim to cover 100-200m more than the event distance before the event day. OPEN water practice: Try rock pools, protected beaches, harbours, lakes and safe open water venues to get used to no black line, bumpy conditions and feeling of ‘open water swim’ grab a Beachside teammate, book a 1-on-1 or private group PT session in by yourself or with a friend or two and of course come to our free group training sessions on Saturday morning. Get the correct gear: swimmers and a good pair of googles is all you need but for those that want extra floatation (for speed and/or comfort) a wetsuit can make a large difference.
• For most people the majority of training will be done in a pool. If it’s your first open water swim, aim to complete a distance a bit further than the event
• You may need to breathe to a side you’re not used to because of swell, other competitors or to help sighting, so try and practice breathing to both sides.Bilateral breathing is better for training anyway because it keeps your stroke balanced.
• You don’t need to just do long distance swims to train for an open water race.Sets of shorter repetitions with rest intervals work well when combined with longer distances, plus they keep training interesting.
• The more efficient your stroke is, the easier it is to swim further. Practice trying to extend each arm pull, and aim to do less strokes per length while keeping your rhythm smooth.
• Get help: join our swim group and run group, come every week and you'll be surprised how quickly your swimming and running fitness develops.