Core for the Outdoors

Forget training for a six-pack, think training for life

Cassie Day
Cassie Day, one of IMPACT Magazine’s Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers; Founder and Head Coach at All Day Fit in Toronto, ON. Location: Training Lane, Toronto, ON. Photo: Emma E. Arsenault

A strong core underpins everything we do. Our core muscles are the central link, as they connect our upper and lower body. We need to train our abdominal tissues in isolation but we also need to train the entire complex of the shoulder, hips, and core to work together as one unit. The role of our core is to link, brace and produce stability.

How to train your core:

  1. Anti-Extension: Any exercise where the purpose is to resist extension at the spine.
  2. Anti-Rotation: Any exercise where the purpose is to resist rotation at the lumbar spine.
  3. Anti-Lateral Flexion: Any exercise where the purpose is to resist lateral flexion (sideways bending) at the spine.

Our core is necessary for:

  • Bending motions such as putting on shoes or sitting in a chair.
  • Any lifting, twisting or standing.
  • Maintaining a healthy back. Four out of five North Americans at some point in their life experience back pain. The first thing prescribed is core exercise.
  • Playing sports: golf, tennis, biking, swimming, kayaking, etc. are all powered by a strong core.
  • Balance and stability: the core allows the body to move in all directions and stand in one spot without losing balance.
  • Good posture: weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Good posture projects confidence, allows for proper breathing mechanics and reaps full benefits from our workouts.

1. Single Foot Pallof Press

Firmly driving your inside foot into the ground, raise the outside leg to a 90 degree angle. Think of a tall spine. Maintaining hands in the middle of your chest, exhale the cable straight out in front of you, resisting both lateral flexion and rotation. Inhale and pull back towards your chest.

Single Foot Pallof Press
Single Foot Pallof Press – Photo: Emma E. Arsenault

2. Lat Pullover in Deadbug ISO

On your back, feet up at a 90 degree angle, exhale to bring your rib cage down as you pull the cable towards your chest using your lats. Inhale, return your arms overhead with control. As you do this, your knees should not move and you want to be thinking about not extending through your spine as you move overhead. If you feel your low back arching off the floor or your ribs popping up, these are good indicators that you are over-extending.

Lat Pullover in Deadbug ISO
Lat Pullover in Deadbug ISO – Photo: Emma E. Arsenault

3. High to Low Rotational Chop 

In this move, think both anti-extension and anti-rotation. Standing on two feet, hip-width apart, stand next to your cable facing forward (not towards your cable). Making sure the cable is on the highest pin, place one hand on the top of the rope and the other on the bottom (in a downward direction). Bracing your core, pull the cable downturning your hips and shoulders as one unit. Transfer your weight to your outside leg as you exhale. Pause for a second and return your rope to the top of the cable, inhaling. 

High to Low Rotational Chop 
High to Low Rotational Chop – Photo: Emma E. Arsenault

4. Tall Kneeling Anti-Extension ISO

In a tall kneeling position, tuck your toes, squeeze your glutes, bring the cable above your head, exhale your ribs to your hips and hold. Begin with a 20-second isometric hold and progress as it becomes easier. 

Tall Kneeling Anti-Extension ISO
Tall Kneeling Anti-Extension ISO – Photo: Emma E. Arsenault

Join All Day Fit’s Virtual Class CHALLENGE. Ten classes in fourteen days challenge in their Virtual Online Hub. Here you can expect training focused on strengthening your core! Remember, a strong core unpins everything that we do. Follow on Instagram to learn more.

Photos by Emma E. Arsenault

December 2020 Digital Edition

IMPACT Magazine’s December 2020 Edition

Read about our top Canadian Olympic snowboarder who returned from injury and is chasing that elusive Olympic Gold!⁠ Learn how not to lose your momentum running through the cold and snow, work out with Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers, avoid back pain with one of the world’s most renowned experts and try out our delicious Holiday-themed recipes.

Read these story in our December 2020 Digital Edition.