Hi, friends! How are you? Yesterday was a little bit different for me, because Dave was off of work for an extended Fourth of July weekend. It was cool to have him home during a weekday. In fact, he met me for lunch in downtown Walnut Creek after I finished up teaching at Orangetheory Fitness and we sat outside together at Jamba Juice — it was almost like a weekend, but not, because I still had all the responsibilities of a typical Monday. Yet, I digress, because today I’m going to talk about fitness.
The last couple of months I have been teaching a 30-minute freestyle core blast class at a gym on Thursday nights after teaching a 45-minute BODYPUMP Express class. While I am certified to teach Les Mills CXWORX, which is a 30-minute core program, the gym does not have the license for it, so I have to create my own program in that time-slot. That being said, I make up a new routine nearly every single week and most of the time, these moves are perfect to do at home, so I thought you may want a little taste.
And by the way, did you know that the core muscles include nearly everything from the top of the thighs to the shoulders? So this workout is not just crunches. Not even close.
Three things I always include in a balanced workout
There are a few things I always do when designing workouts, including this particular core class …
- Include a dynamic warm-up at the beginning
- Include moves that work the body in all three planes of motion (front-to-back, side-to-side and rotational)
- Include a few stretches at the end
Checking off those three boxes ensures that the workout is well-rounded for most people who attend my classes, although many times I make up options for those who need it.
Because the class needs to end five minutes early (as most group fitness classes which run back-to-back do), this workout ends up being closer to 25 minutes — which is efficient and doable when you’re short on time.
Without further ado, here’s an example of some of the moves in a workout perfect to be completed at home. You’ll need a medium-sized weight-plate or dumbbell for this as an option only. It’s totally fine to do this workout with no weights at all. Take your time with each move and focus on quality repetitions in the time-frame allotted.
And even though this is a “core” workout, a few functional and compound full-body movements are included which work the core a lot, so you’re hitting more than just the mid-section.
*Disclaimer: While I’m a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I’m not your trainer. Consult with your doctor or trainer before trying anything new, because this may not be right for you. Proceed with caution.
A sweaty 25-minute total-core blast workout
It’s a seven-move set, which you’ll repeat for a total of three times, taking your time with each exercise. Make sure you stop for a little breather in between each set to rest as needed.
Believe me, you only need 25 minutes when you do a workout like this one. I do the workout moves along with the class to demonstrate, and this one had me completely drenched! I’m not sure what I’ll make up to teach this week, but it will be along these lines, because this has proven to be a winning format. Add in some fast-paced music in the background, and it’s a good time for all.
Here are some notes about each move, along with links to demonstrations:
- Reverse lunge with torso rotation — Stand with feet hip-width, with the weight at your chest, arms bent. Step back and bend your back knee down toward the floor (it doesn’t have to touch the floor). Make sure you keep your chest up and hips square to the front the whole time. Extend the weight out in front of you with almost straight arms. Rotate over the front knee and follow the weight with your eyes.
- Weighted bridge — Lay on your back, put the plate in your lap, hold on to it and drive your hips up to the sky while squeezing your butt. Dig your heels into the ground and try and get your chest up to your chin at the top of the movement. Don’t let your heels lift off the ground. During the top-half pulsing, stay very high in the movement without letting your butt touch the ground.
- Weighted crunch — Lay on your back with your heels down or close to your butt. You can hold the weight straight above your shoulders pushing it up to the sky or hold it closely on your chest. Slide your ribs to your hips on the way up and make sure you get your shoulder blades off the ground at the top of the movement. Eyes should look between your knees at the top. To make it more challenging, lift your legs up with shins parallel to the ground.
- Low-to-high plank — This move can also be done on your knees as a low option. Start with your elbows under shoulders, body long and strong. Try and keep your hips and shoulders as still as possible, without rocking back and forth while pushing up from the forearms to the hands. Make sure you place your hands directly under your shoulders as you push up, then return back down to your forearms.
- Superman — Lay on your stomach. Lift your legs up off the ground as you lift your chest and extend your arms out. Squeeze your butt at the top and take your time as you lower down to the starting position. Eyes up, chest up and try to keep your arms as straight as possible when extended.
- Side hover hip lift — Set up with your elbow under your shoulder on one side. Feet can be stacked or scissored, and as a low option your bottom knee can be down. Lift your hip to the sky, keeping your body nice and straight.
- Hover — Set up with your elbows under your shoulders. Body in a strong and flat plank position. Squeeze your core muscles and stay super still.
And by the way, once you’ve finished a workout like this, you never want to do any weightlifting, because your core will be spent. However, moderate cardio is certainly okay.
Be safe and have fun with it. And that’s it, friends! For more workouts like this, head on over to my Fitness +Workouts page and search around. I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a post about food. Have a lovely day!
Questions of the day
Do you have a favorite core move?
What’s going on in your week?