The holidays have come and gone and it’s time to get back to looking after myself. I began working with IndyCore Fitness to do some core strengthening. As I mentioned in the first blog of this series, I have been suffering terrible pain in the sacral area of my back and chronic neuropathy in my legs and feet for the past 10 years. I believe this pain can be reduced or possibly eliminated using IndyCore’s approach to core strengthening. Between work, social functions, and snacking on holiday treats I managed to get in another session with IndyCore owner Kim Rockey.
Warm Up Those Muscles Before Stretching
Kim talked to me about the importance of stretching only after a warm-up and then had me ride a stationary bike for about 5 minutes. This is contrary to what we usually do. Most of us have heard that we should stretch before exercising. If you are a runner, for example, it is common to do some thigh stretches and calf stretches before you set out on your run. It turns out that it is a bad idea to stretch cold muscles. If your muscles aren’t loosened up before you stretch, you’re more at risk for pulling them. There are not any benefits of stretching before running. IndyCore recommends abandoning the pre-exercise stretch.
After evaluating the needs of a client, Kim Rockey determines the activities that will best suit your body’s needs and then prescribes those activities as a course of treatment
The squat excise is much like the one we know and love. It is a basic exercise that anyone can do without any special equipment. At IndyCore squats are completed while using IndyCore equipment. Squats are essential for anyone who strength trains because they engage more muscles than any other move. Squats work the thighs (including the quads, hamstrings, outer thighs), glutes, and core (abdominals and the muscles that support your spine).
Many variations of this exercise are employed throughout the world, most commonly the balancing of the body on the head/shoulders and the feet. Hands are occasionally used instead of or along with the head.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Keeping your shoulders on the floor, slowly raise your hips towards the ceiling as far as you can and hold this position while slowly counting to five.
- Lower your hips to the starting position and repeat a few times.
The hamstrings are the muscles along the backside of your thighs. There are a number of ways to stretch these muscles and can use the addition of resistance such as a doorway. The idea is to get each leg, one at a time, raised up so that the bottom of the foot is parallel to the ceiling. Here is the doorway alternative:
- Lie on the floor next to a doorway. Rest one leg flat on the floor through a doorway. Rest the other leg against the wall next to the doorway.
- Start inching your body slowly toward the wall so that your leg is pushed against the wall. You should start to feel some tension in your hamstring muscle.
- Hold the stretch for 15-60 seconds. Release the stretch switch to the other side. Repeat stretches on each side for a total of 5 times. Do these sets a couple of times every day.
The plank is a fundamental core-building activity. It works many muscles in your trunk at the same time. To do the plank:
- Lie on the floor on your stomach and place your forearms on the ground shoulder-width apart.
- Push up with your arms into a push-up position, keeping your elbows and forearms resting on the floor. Keep your body straight and tighten your core muscles to help alleviate strain on your arms.
- Breathe evenly and hold for 60 seconds.
- Relax for 60 seconds and then repeat 1-3 times every day.
Exercise Ball Lift (Reverse Curl)
This is a simple core-strengthening activity where you like on your back with your legs over an exercise ball. The position is similar to the images we’ve all seen of astronauts sitting in a space capsule at blast-off.
- Grab the exercise ball behind your legs and lift it as high as possible while keeping your entire back on the floor.
- Be sure to pull your stomach in.
- Hold the ball up for a count of five and then lower.
- Repeat as many times as you comfortably can.