Tuesday, March 22, 2011
In the ongoing quest to be the best runner I can be, I've been working very hard on many aspects of fitness. Recently, I've been doing more cross-training (as opposed to the NO cross-training I used to do) and more intense core workouts.
These core workouts are dual-purposed. The first purpose is to improve my running. A strong core is vital. The second is purely selfish. I WANT SIX PACK ABS.
My coach Josh, aka Speedy Sasquatch recently asked Khrystyne (aka GlamFIT), a California-based personal trainer to share some core workouts that he could try out and pass along to members of the team. Khrystyne developed a plank-based core workout that is incredibly tough, exhausting and absolutely worth every second you spend doing it.
A few weeks ago, I began rocking the Plank Party, in my quest for a stronger core and six-pack abs!
As I started doing the first in the series of exercises, parachute planks with hip extensions, I felt good. This seemed easy. "Maybe I'm in better shape than I thought!" I foolishly dreamed.
I got through this exercise and moved onto the second, oblique crunches with hip lifts. And here, the ease with which I coasted through the first move went quickly away. The crunches were fine, but when it was time to extend my legs and lift myself into side plank position, I released an awful vocal grunt that made more than one person in the gym look over with concern.
I grunted my way through this set, and paused for a moment to catch my breath. I was sweating. Hadn't I been doing core exercises for month? Wasn't I in better shape than this?
I moved on to the next set of exercises, full planks with knee drivers. Throughout these I was beginning to feel the old Shake of Truth in my arms and my abs, that little quiver that lets you know your muscles are paying attention and will be screaming at you the next day. Usually, when I grunt and sweat this much I'm having a LOT MORE FUN.
I toughed my way through the next two exercises, rock and roll abs, and push-up crawlers. The crawlers nearly did leave me crawling and gasping for air and one old man at the gym asked me if I was alright when I was done with the first set. I somehow managed to gasp and grunt and sweat my way through the last three exercises a second time and take my shaking abs home.
Over the past few weeks, I've been doing this workout a few times a week, to supplement my old core workout and add more strength. Already, I'm noticing more strength in my abs and some definition where there wasn't any before. While it's gotten easier, I'm enjoying that this workout is still a challenge and it just motivates me to push myself further. I know that sticking with this is really going to be helpful, as I strive towards both my goals: improving my running and SIX-PACK ABS!