Core Crush with Yoga Blocks
TRAINER Andrea Somer // DURATION 15 minutes // DIFFICULTY Beginner
Ready to move freely without restrictions and optimize your training? These Mobility & Core Strength exercises will help you do just that. Perform the exercises three to four times a week, prior to your lifting sessions or on their own as active recovery. Your body will thank you for it!
1. DEAD BUGS
30 Sec, 1 Rep
GOOD FOR: Core strengthening exercises, especially for people with lower back problems. The yoga block adds even more tension for your core adding an extra challenge.
INSTRUCTIONS: Squeeze the yoga block between your elbow and knee, both joints bent 90 degrees. Slowly and with control, lower your free opposite arm and leg toward the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position and head on the mat, pressing down your lower back down into the mat. Bring your arm and leg back to starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
2. Leg Lowering
( 30 seconds 1 Rep )
GOOD FOR: Leg Lowering is one of my favorite core strengthening exercises, again good for people with lower back problems. The yoga block adds an extra challenge.
INSTRUCTIONS: Place the yoga block between your ankles and use your inner thighs to squeeze throughout the movement. Extend your legs and lower them to the ground, go as far as your lower back lets you (keeping it pressed down into the mat). Keep your chest up and core fully engaged.
3. Plank Kickback Knee-Drive
( 30 Kicks 30 Reps )
GOOD FOR: This move brings mobility through your hips and thoracic spine while challenging your core.
INSTRUCTIONS: Start in a plank position and kick your leg as far back as you can into a three leg Downward Dog, then slowly drive your knee in towards your chest. Get as far up and in as you can. Make sure you curve your spine and pull your bellybutton in towards your spine as you drive your knee in. Repeat for 15 reps, then switch sides.
4. Single Leg Bridge Hold Knee Drive
( 30 Times 30 Reps )
GOOD FOR: This move brings mobility through your hips while challenging your core and activated your glutes. I love this as a part of my movement preparation before leg day.
INSTRUCTIONS: Start in a single leg glute bridge position driving your hips up towards the ceiling with your arms by your side. Drive one leg in towards your chest and extend it back out all the way to tap your foot on the floor. Keep your pelvis tucked in and your core engaged throughout the movement, do not let your hips drop.
5. Glute Bridge
( 20 reps )
GOOD FOR: This move is great to strengthen your glutes and pelvis. Using your inner thighs to squeeze the yoga block engages more muscles and adds a challenge.
INSTRUCTIONS: Lie face up on the floor with your arms by your side. Place the yoga block between your knees and use your inner thighs to squeeze it together. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulder form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and brings your hips back down. Keep your core engaged so you do not over extend your lower back.
6. Down Dog to Up Dog
( 10 Reps )
GOOD FOR: This move works the whole body, it builds strength and increase flexibility.
INSTRUCTIONS: Start on your knees and hands in a table top. Push yourself up into a Downward Dog, your hips towards the ceiling and strengthen your legs. Bring your body into a shape of an “A”. Then shift your weight forward into a plank and drop your hips into an Upward Dog. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and press through your hands to create length.
7. Plank Kick-back to Pigeon
( 10-16 reps )
GOOD FOR: This move is a great stretch and hip opener. Hold longer in the pigeon position for an even deeper stretch.
INSTRUCTIONS: Start in a plank position and kick your leg as far back as you can into a three leg Downward Dog, then slowly drive your knee in towards your chest and gently rest your leg bent in front of you. Pull your back leg forward and your front hip back to square your hips even more. The goal is to have the front shin parallel to the body. Kick your leg back gain and repeat.
8. Thread the Needle Spinal Twist
( 10-16 reps )
GOOD FOR: This move is a great stretch for chest and shoulders, and can help relieve tension in your lower back.
INSTRUCTIONS: Start on your knees and hands in a table top. Position shoulder over wrists and hips over knees. On an exhalation, slide your right arm underneath your left arm with your palm facing up. Let your right shoulder come all the way down to the mat, rest your ear and cheek on the mat. Raise up your left arm and hold for 3 seconds before returning to start position.