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Core strength is a hot topic in the fitness industry. Athletes and trainers are beginning to understand the importance of it.
The time-constrained triathlete cannot afford to exclude core strength as part of his or her training. The following program is designed for an in-season triathlete, can be done anywhere and with no equipment. And as the athlete adapts to the exercises, the program may be completed in as little as 15 minutes.
Coordinate the exercises within your training week. Go easier on a day when you feel tired and try to push yourself on your easier days. And remember to begin the program conservatively because it is better to realize you could have gone harder then to wake up too sore to move.
Here are the exercises recommended by fitness professionals at www.beginnertriathlete.com for triathletes looking to improve their cores:
Knees bent/feet flat on floor. Fingertips behind your ears. Lead your right shoulder towards your left knee. Keep your head neutral. Your shoulders will only come off the ground a few inches. Do not come down too fast. Do not lead your elbow to your knee.
Knees bent/feet flat on floor. Bring arms up even with your chest, reaching up towards the sky. Keep arms straight. Pick a point above and reach for it. Your shoulders will come off the ground a few inches. Come back slowly. A variation is to keep heels on the ground, but toes off the ground.
Lay face up. Knees bent. Feet flat on the ground. Hands on the ground extended by your side. Lift your hips/butt off the ground. Lift one leg off the ground and extend the knee. Then bend the knee and return to starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Be sure to keep your hips neutral; do not let them rock to either side. A variation is to bend your elbows and point fingers up, or straighten arms and point entire arm up.
Begin on your hands and knees. Engage the core muscles. Lift the right arm straight in front. At the same time move your left leg straight back (not up). Hold for one to two seconds and return each limb to its starting position. Repeat on other side. Your hips should not rock to one side. Keep the core engaged the entire time.
Lunge and twist:
Step out with your left foot and assume a lunge position. While facing forward, bring your arms out, shoulder level, parallel to the ground, hands clasped. Twist at the trunk to the right side until your shoulders are completely turned. Imagine your arms have moved from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock. Remain in the lunge position, but bring arms back to starting point. Finish one set, then switch to the other side.
Sit and balance yourself so that your legs can come off the ground. Extend your right arm overhead, next to your ear. Extend your left arm to the side at shoulder level. Bring your left arm up to meet your right hand (simulating an overhead clap). Keep your left arm overhead, bring right arm down to shoulder level then back up to meet the left, and repeat. One repetition equals left arm meets right, right goes down then back up, left goes down. The clapping motion may be done quickly. Keep your legs off the ground entire the entire time.
Double leg raise:
Lay face up, feet straight in front of you. Place your hands either under the small of your back, or at your sides. Keeping your legs straight, bring them up until the soles of your shoes face up. Under control, bring them down. Before they touch the ground, bend your knees towards your chest, then extend your legs and repeat. You may need to let your heels touch the ground between each raise/tuck combination. Work yourself from raise-tuck-touch ground repeat to raise-tuck repeat. The raise and tuck together are considered one repetition.
Lay on your right side. Prop yourself on your right hand, and balance on the side of your right foot. Bring your whole body off the ground (only contact points are the hand and foot).