Rest Day Core Work
It may very well say ‘rest day’ on your training plan, but that doesn’t mean you should sit around and be bone idle. Rest days present the perfect opportunity to do some conditioning work. I thought I’d share some of the core work and glute exercises I do on my rest days. I love doing this routine – so much strength comes from the core and glutes that helps you with every form of exercise. It honestly doesn’t usually take me longer than 15 minutes – sometimes I’ll extend it and experiment a little but for the most part, it’s a pretty quick routine.
I’ll usually take a few minutes just to do some gentle stretching of any niggly areas. With all the running I do, I often end up with quite tight calves (especially now that I’m trying to teach myself to forefoot strike). This is a great stretch for the calves. Start on all fours, rock back onto your toes and straighten the legs so your bum is in the air. Bend one leg and aim to get the heel of the straight leg on the floor. Hold it for a good five breaths, then change legs.
Definitely one of my favourite Pilates moves. Lie on your back, knees bent and feet positioned by your buttocks. Gently roll up, lifting your pelvis first, then peel each vertebrae off the floor til you’ve pushed your hips as far as they can do. Make sure your knees stay over your toes and really squeeze your glutes. Hold for a few breaths, then roll back down and repeat.
Yup, more Pilates. What can I say? It’s great for the core! The Pilates 100 is a bad boy move! Lie on the floor, lift your head and shoulders off the floor and get your arms in the position shown in the pic (my upper body is a little high in this pic as I’ve lifted it to try and hold the ‘V’ position after a set). Legs can be either in ‘table top’ position (knees bent, legs at a 90 degree angle), straight up at a 90 degree angle, or lowered to a 45 degree angle as shown in the pic. The lower the legs, the harder it is. Don’t go lower than 45 degrees though, or your back will lift off the ground. Then breath in for five counts, pumping the arms up and down a few inches five times, then out for five counts (turn your palms over and pump the arms five times). The aim is to have pumped your arms 100 times. Your belly should be pulled in the whole time (imagine trying to get your belly button to touch the floor) and your core should be engaged. There’s a lot to think about, but it’s a great exercise, with great benefits.
Make sure your body is aligned – the hips don’t want to be too high or too low. If your back starts to hurt, you’ve got your positioning wrong. Engage the core, glutes and legs and hold it. I say the minimum time should be 30 seconds. I’ve worked my way up to 2 minute planks – it’s hard, but again, great core exercise.
Not really core or glute related, but I like to just throw a few press ups into any routine to get the blood flowing and focus on my chest, arms and back for a little bit. I’m trying to work up to 30+ press ups per set. I can currently do 26 comfortably and struggle through the last four. But I will get there!
Oh sure, it may look like I’m stone cold chillin’ here, but trust me, this glute exercise is MEAN! Lie on your side with your knees bent and together. Raise the top leg and try to get it to 90 degrees. Hold for a few counts and feel the burn in your glute. I try to do 10 reps on each side x 3. This is especially great for runners because remember, all your power comes from your glutes.
Sit ups with a medicine ball
Self explanatory really. This is an 8lb medicine ball. Do 50 sit ups. Feel it the next day.
Leg lifts with a medicine ball
I’ve been playing around with this a bit, from doing straight forward leg lifts trying to keep the small of my back on the floor, to lifting legs and upper body to try and hold the ‘V’ position for a few seconds longer each time. An 8lb medicine ball between your ankles definitely adds a degree of difficulty!
Do you have any core and glute exercises you like to do? Share them in the comments!