Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Core strength/ Lower abdominals

This is a great way for our runners to strengthen their lower abdominals without further loading their hip flexors (Pilates or full range sit-ups).

The runner will lie down supine with their knees bent at 90 degrees. They will then tighten their lower abdominals (rolling the pelvis toward their nose/flattening the lower back toward the floor). This position is maintained as they slowly raise their arms overhead holding a ball. The lower back should not arch away from the floor. The higher the arms are raised the more difficult it is to keep the "core" engaged. They will continue to slowly raise and lower their arms until the lower abdominals are fatigued.

We then have them load their External and Internal Obliques by repeating the same exercise but they start at the side of the pelvis and raise the ball at diagonal toward the opposite ear.

Once this is mastered we advance them to a more difficult position. They repeat these exercises but with the legs straight out. In this position it is much harder to keep the core engaged as the hip flexors are in a relatively lengthened position. This is a sneaky way to work on lengthening tight hip flexors and back extensors while strengthening the muscles that oppose them.

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