Strong and Stable: A Core Workout

Training to have a strong and stable core is imperative for bullet proofing your pirouettes and extensions. So, for Workout Wednesday this week, we are giving you a core workout!

Now, you might be a bit suspicious when you look at this workout and not see a single crunch or sit-up. But I promise you, if you pay attention to form, your abs will be WORKING!

Ready to jump in? Grab a mat and a water bottle.  

 

Strong and Stable: The Core Workout

This core workout should only take you about 13-15 minutes – but don’t get cocky because it’s short, short workouts can still pack a punch!

You’ll perform one full circuit, rest for 45 seconds, then repeat for a total of 4 rounds

 

 

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Kick Throughs – x6 total

Kicking off our core workout are kick throughs! (See what I did there?) 

For this exercise you need to get into a bear plank position. To do this, get on all fours. Lengthen your spine long and brace your core, keeping your head inline with your back (don’t let it droop toward the floor or arch up toward the ceiling).

Imagine you are making a table for a tea party! Then, float your knees about 2 inches off of the floor. You are now in a bear plank.

From this position, kick your right leg through the gap between your left knee and shoulder, lifting your left arm as you do so. Then, return to the starting position.

As you do these, be careful not to let your booty float up to the ceiling and don’t sink into your shoulders!

Repeat on the opposite side. 

**Perform 6 reps total then move on to the next exercise**

Hand Walkouts – x6

Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width a part. Roll down your spine and walk your hands out, through plank position and beyond, as far as they can go without releasing your core. 

Then, walk your hands back, rolling back up to a standing position. 

**Repeat for 6 reps then move on the the next exercise**

Thai Push-ups – x6 

Don’t be intimidated by these. You can perform these with as many modifications as you need and you’ll still be getting a great core workout. 

The end goal for these push-ups is to perform a standard push-up with a clap of your hands between reps. The super advanced version is to clap your hands behind your back between reps.

But you don’t have to do that advanced modification to build power. 

If you’re strong enough, feel free to perform standard push-ups clapping your hands every time you push up.

However, if you’re looking at this going “Uh, nice try but NO!”

I am right there with you. 

You can modify by making these elevated push-ups, putting your arms on a bench, counter, or box – just something that won’t tip or slide when you land after the clap. 

And remember, if you’re still needing more stability in your push-up position, widen the gap between your feet to create a wider base. 

The trick with these is to keep your core engaged by keeping the ribcage closed and lengthening your spine. The more engaged your core, the easier “getting air” will be.

Further Modification/Alternative: If you struggle with unstable shoulders or cranky elbows, modify to perform T-push-ups: perform a regular push-up, then, at the top of the push-up, rotate your body to your ride side, lifting your right arm off the ground and reaching it toward the ceiling into a side plank. Then, return to your push-up form and repeat on the other side. Complete 6 reps total. 

**Perform 6 reps, then move on to the next exercise**

Russian Twists -x6/side

Russian Twists are probably something you’ve encountered in core workouts  before. 

Begin in a sitting position with your knees bent, feet flat on the mat. 

From this position, brace your core and lean back as if your body is a solid board, arms in a prayer position – hands pressing against one another. 

Now, float your feet up one at a time so your shins are parallel to the ceiling. Good!

While maintaining this solid core position, keeping your knees even, gently rotate your spine so your chest faces to the right, go as far as you can until you are tempted to begin twisting from your shoulder. 

Then, slowly and gently twist the opposite direction. 

**Perform 6 reps per side (12 total reps) then move on to the next exercise**

Shoulder Taps – x6 total

Ahh shoulder taps! These are deceptively challenging! 

Get into a plank position with your weight in your hands. Make sure your shoulders and down, neck is long, and booty is not drifting toward the ceiling.

Without letting your hips dip from side to side, tap your right hand to your left shoulder, then return it to the floor. Repeat on the other side. 

**Perform 6 taps total then move on to the next exercise**

Single Leg Glute Bridge – x 6/side

We are almost done with today’s core workout! How do you feel? 

You might be thinking “Glute bridges don’t belong in a core workout!”  But there you’d be wrong! 

Glute bridges not only train your glutes and hamstrings, but they require your entire core to work to stabilize and support the spine. Add the instability of making this a single-leg exercise and boom! A recipe for compound exercise that really lights up your core!

Ready to give them a try?

Lay on your back with your knees bent. Ideally, your heels should be close enough to your tush that you can just barely touch them with the tips of your fingers. 

In this position, brace your core and lift one leg off the floor so your shin is parallel to the ceiling.

Then, pulling your pelvis toward your knees, lift your hips up toward the ceiling as high as you can without arching your back.

With control, return your hips to the floor and repeat

**Perform 6 reps on each side then move on to the final exercise in the circuit**

V-Sit/V-Tuck – x6

You made it to the final exercise in our core workout!

Lay flat on your back and brace your core. 

In one movement, lift your chest and shins toward the ceiling by scooping your abs back and up toward your spine. Arms should reach forward but  don’t round the shoulders. (Keep those collarbones wide!)

For a v-sit legs will be relatively straight.

If this is too challenging or puts too much pressure on your tailbone, you can perform a v-tuck by pulling your knees toward your chest as you sit up. 

**Complete 6 reps then rest for 45 seconds**

Finishing the Workout

To complete this core workout, repeat this circuit 4 times with 45 seconds rest between each round. 

How do you feel? 

Compound exercises like the ones above are excellent for dancers because we are never only using one muscle group. Training this way teaches our body to stabilize while producing power and moving. 

Want more workouts? Follow along every Wednesday on the Dancers Who Lift Blog and check us out on Tuesday for Training Technique tips!

Can’t wait til next week? These should tide you over: How to Do a Proper Deadlift: The Ultimate Guide for Dancers, The Secret to Warming Up for Dance Auditions… The Right Way!, Should dancers drink daily greens?

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