GEORGE PAPADAKOS - TALES IN TRIALTHON COLUMN
Core exercises are an integral part of any triathlete's or athlete's weekly regimen. These exercises particularly strengthen the pelvis, hip and lower back areas, but more importantly unify your top and bottom halves.
This type of training works on the deep abdominal muscles, aka transverse abdominis, helping to flatten them out even if they are hidden by some Molson muscle. With a stronger core you will also reap the benefits of a stronger, healthier back and you will be less prone to back injury and pain due to carrying too much weight.
As you strengthen your core even more, you will see an improvement in balance, coordination, and enhanced flexibility. There are so many muscles and ligaments in the core area that as you develop a greater range of motion through good core training, you alleviate stress and tension.
Another great benefit of having a solid core is improved lung capacity. Core muscles are connected to the diaphragm, so improving upon them enhances one's ability to inhale and exhale more deeply allowing you to take in more oxygen, which in turn allows your heart to pump more blood, which should give an improvement in overall body performance.
Here are a few examples of what I use to give my core an awesome workout.
Yoga is by far the best core workout I can think of. Anyone that thinks yoga is easy without having done it is kidding themselves. It is tough, but relaxing at the same time, and as you progress through the practice, holding the poses, you focus on your breathing and clearing your mind of all thought. Yoga helps to strengthen your core, improve breathing and lung capacity, flexibility, and with all the twisting and stretching it helps to jumpstart the lymphatic system which fights off infection, destroys cancerous cells and cellular waste products.
Kelly Spencer from Indigo Lounge is awesome, and a great instructor for the novice yogi.
TRX is another avenue for improving core stability. "Yours truly" teaches a very demanding class at Imagine studios every Monday night. TRX, for those that don't know, is a suspension training system that hangs from an anchor point in the ceiling. The instructor leads the class through a variety of exercises that challenges your whole body, but has an emphasis on your core.
And lastly, for those that have access or are near a beach for the summer, SUPing or stand up paddle boarding is an excellent way to spend on the water, get a great workout and get a tan as well. A SUP is like a big surfboard that you stand on, and you paddle with an oar. My family got to enjoy this up in Peterborough last summer and it was a huge hit. It is relatively easy to get the hang of it and really works your core, arms and back.
These are some great examples of what you can do to break up the monotony of everyday training, and hit those core muscles with some hard work and good fun.
Until I meet you at the start line, train safe and have fun!