Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is Better For the Core?

There is an interesting New York Times article today found here: "Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back?" by Gretchen Reynolds on core strength. It tells a bit about the history and popularity of many of today's core workout routines, particularly the emphasis on the transversus abdominis and "sucking in the belly button". It explains why this might be the wrong approach to developing a healthy core. Stuart McGill offers a more balanced approach to core stability. There is also an informative video on the web page that shows three good core exercises.

Here is a visual guide to some other core exercises: some like the crunches do not agree with the NYT article, at least as performed here. Others seem like extensions to some of the exercises that are recommended in the article. The article "Hard Core - Exercises to Strengthen Your Abs For Better Performance" by Justin Maguire can be found on here.

I haven't tried these routines yet, but I look forward to exploring new exercises as the school year ends on Monday. I was really tired tonight and exited the track workout halfway through. I was a bit lethargic and stiff from earlier in the weak. I did three 11 mile days in a row before Monday's Mine Falls Trail 5K. I am also tired from the end of the school year. I thought it better to stop than to push through to an injury. I was probably stiff from doing tons of kettlebell swings last night too, as I was workout until about 11:00 pm and didn't have a chance to run, but needed to get some exercise.

Some other things I hope to give a try after school is out is the new Resistance Stretching DVD I got two weeks ago, but have only viewed once. It is the second DVD by Bob Cooley, author of "The Genius of Flexibility". It is the intermediate self stretches DVD and more information can be found here. I also ordered and am looking forward to recieving the third Z-Health DVD. It is called S-Phase: The Complete Athlete. Here is the blurb from Z-Health:

Introducing the Newest Z-Health Educational Product
We're incredibly excited to announce the release of the latest Z-Health Performance Solutions Educational Training DVD and Quick Start Guide.

We love it and are certain you will as well. Featuring Dr. Cobb and seven advanced-level Z-Health trainers, this instructional two-DVD set is a goldmine of information about the Z-Health approach to optimal athletic development. Here's a quick peek at just a few of the topics covered:

Static and Dynamic Stances. It all starts with a good stance
6 Visual Training Drills designed to improved field vision
Plyometric Training for developing explosive movement skill and speed
4 drills for creating explosive Linear Speed
3 Ground Speed Drills. Losing your balance or being knocked to the ground is part of the game. Learn to recover quickly
6 Athletic Transition Steps for maximum speed and quickness

We've also included a handy, pull-out Quick Start Guide for you to take to the track or gym with general training tips and two sample training programs to jumpstart your practice and creativity.

Since my movement patterns are so messed up and I still am working on the Z-Health Joint Mobility R and I phase DVDs, this one makes me just more curious about where these drills and movement patterns are going. I am sure it is meant for better and more effecient athletes than me, but I am curious as to where this approach to movement leads. You can check out Z-Health here:

Before today's workout I took my Vibram Five-Finger shoes out for a warmup run on the trails of Mine Falls. They worked OK. I felt the rocks through the bottom, but there wasn't really rough going on the run. I like this observation by Matt Metzgar on changing running speed and stride length when running over different trail conditions. This relates to barefoot running. Here is a video of Erwen LeCorre of MovNat. Even if you don't want to run comletely barefoot-I don't want to either, this video is a lesson in how the body runs over different surfaces when unshod.

I did receive great news yesterday. After 21 years of teaching at Mount Pleasant School I have finally graduated from the fourth grade! Next year I am switching schools to New Searles Elementary School and will be a fifth grade teacher. I am very excited for a change of school and look forward to my new position. On a side note, this may even help my running and fitness. The school is about 2-3 miles from my house and I can bike, scooter, or run there and I won't have to get on a highway or go through a traffic light. It also starts an hour later than my present school, so maybe I can learn to be a morning runner next year. Most of all, I am just looking forward to the change and a new challenge.

Finally, here is a marathon that I would have loved to participate in. At this years Utah Valley Marathon they had a footbike (kickbike) scooter division. You can read about it here. Here is a video:

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