The Core is the Core 30 day challenge: My exercises

What’s The Core is the Core 30 day challenge? It’s all right here (don’t worry – it’s pretty brief). If you prefer the super brief version, here goes:

Every day for 30 days, do the following:

  • 1 anterior (front) core exercise
  • 1 lateral/rotary (side) core exercise
  • 1 posterior core (glutes!) exercise
  • 1 combo core exercise (something that involves a lot of core but isn’t strictly a core exercise)
  • If what you’re doing is painful, stop.

How long should you hold the exercises, or how many reps? That’s up to you. Do what you can, and then try to improve it over the 30 days. That’s it. No need to kill yourself, but don’t go too easy either.

Easy! Barely takes any time (for me it’s been in the 4 to 6 minutes range). And it’s a balanced approach, because let’s face it, the core is a cylinder around your midsection.

Wondering if you should? Thinking you want to, but not really sure?

DO IT! Seriously, it’s easy. Just remember to measure yourself against your ability, not someone else’s.

UPDATE: The Sept challenge is finished and the winners have been announced. Next challenge starts November 1st! Sign-up here to join in. So fun! Slight change here – we have added a $20 fee. I’m hoping it will increase the number of people who finish (September’s winning percentage was 22%), and it’s a great way to increase the donation amount. No real commitment, but now that you’ve got skin in the game – it’s a bit of a commitment; no forced email newsletter sign up (although we do ask about one, but don’t sign up for it unless you actually want it – no hard feelings, honest.). We also send you an email a day (during the challenge – not forever), but we include a picture and either description or video of a different core exercise each day, so hopefully that makes it worth the extra clutter in your inbox.

Oh, and you also receive a copy of my new Core Companion program, which you can read about at the end of this blog post. I have to say that I’m very proud of this program, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it!

UPDATE #2: Now with an online submission form (we’re here to keep you on track!) ¬†that includes a list of 15+ suggested exercises in each category. We’re also adding a charitable donation – either 50% of the fees collected or $100 (whichever is more) will be donated to a charity as chosen by one lucky winner (I’ll draw one name from the finishers).

Looking for ideas, here’s my 30 days the last time:

Day 1 – Apr 27:

Front: Plank 45s
Side: Hand to knee hold 10ea by 5 count
Butt: Leg lock bridge (10 ea)
Combo: 2 pullups (dead hang, sponge grip)

Day 2 – Apr 28:

Front: Plank 45s
Side: Side plank 30s ea
Butt: Glute bridge hold 60s
Combo: 3 pullups (3×1 dead hang, sponge grip)

Day 3 – Apr 29:

Front: Mcgill curl upsx10
Side: Side plank 35s ea
Butt: Glute bridge hold 75s
Combo: Figure 4 Glute stretch, hip flexor and core exercise (10 ea)
Day 5 – May 1:
Front: Plank 30s and Mcgill curl upsx10x5s (just wasn’t feeling the plank today)
Side: Side plank 40s ea
Butt: Glute bridge hold – 2 legs 30s+15s ea single leg +30s two legs+15s ea single leg +30s two legs
Combo: 2 pullups (dead hang, sponge grip)
Day 6 – May 2:
Front: Mcgill curl upsx10x5s
Side: Side plank 45s ea
Butt: Glute bridge hold (1:45 total) – 2 legs 15s+15s ea single leg +15s two legs+15s ea single leg +15s two legs
Combo: overhead bodyweight squats (20)
Day 7 – May 3:
Front: Plank 60s
Side: Bird dogs 10x5s ea
Butt: Single leg glute bridge 10x3s
Combo: 3 chin ups
Day 8 – May 4:
Front: Hand to knee pushes (10 ea for 5s – stay tuned for a video of this – think on your back opp hand to knee)
Side: Side plank (45s ea)
Butt: bent knee foot lifts (same timing as above – lying on your stomach – video coming…)
Combo: Push-ups (10)
Day 9 – May 5:
Front: Plank (60s)
Side: Bear paws (10ea x5s)
Butt: single-leg Romanian deadlifts with rotation (whole body rotation, not lumbar rotation!) x10ea
Combo: Single-leg squat to a chair (10ea)
What are bear paws? Watch Joe Bonyai of Empower Athletic Development:

Day 10 – May 6:
Front: Plank (60s)
Side: side planks (45s ea)
Butt: single-leg shoulder elevated hip lifts x10ea (did this at the gym on a bench, but it can work on an ottoman or couch)
Combo: Romanian deadlift (155#x6 – did I mention this was at the gym?)
Today’s the Core is the Core session was a selection of exercises in my workout. I was actually going to do a separate TCITC at home, but my new workout is so much core anyhow (I superset every exercise with a core exercise), that I decided that would be silly. And my core was beat! I think that’s fair.
Day 11 – May 7:
Front: Single-leg lowering (10 ea)
Side: Bird dogs (10 ea x 5s)
Butt: Hip thrusts (15)
Combo: Push-ups (10)
Day 12 – May 8:
Front: Figure 4 hip hip flexor activation with leg lowering (10 ea)
Side: Suitcase carry (~40 ft ea with 60#)
Butt: 4 way mini-band hip matrix (10ea)
Combo: Pull-ups (3.5. Yes, I use decimals when counting pull-ups, and unless you can do at least 10, you should too.)
This is another day where I pulled my TCITC exercises from my workout. Today’s workout had lots of core, although wasn’t quite as core heavy as Monday’s.
Day 13 – May 9:
Front: Plank (65s)
Side: Side plank (50s ea)
Butt: Glute bridge hold (3mins total) 3x (2 legs 15s+15s left leg+15s right leg)
Combo: Single leg squats to a chair (10ea)
Day 14 – May 10:
Front: Isometric hand to opposite knee (10x5s ea)
Side: Plank to side plank (10 ea)
Butt: 4 way mini-band hip matrix (10 ea)
Combo: Push-ups (10)
Day 15 – May 11:
Front: Plank (65s)
Side: Side plank (50s ea)
Butt: single-leg Romanian deadlifts with rotation (whole body rotation, not lumbar rotation!) x10ea
Combo: Pull-ups (3)
Day 16 – May 12:
Front: Single-leg lowering (10 ea)
Side: Shoulder taps (10 ea)
Butt: Leg-lock bridge (15ea)
Combo: Single-leg squats to a chair (10ea)
Day 17 – May 13:
Front: Plank (70s)
Side: Split stance cable chop (10 ea x 50#)
Butt: Glute bridge 2 legs to 1 leg holds (3 x 15s ea)
Combo: Med ball rotational throw (10 ea)
This was another one where my core exercises were part of my workout. In fact my workout was about 50% core! More on that later.
Day 18 – May 14:
Front: Elbow to knee hold (10 ea x 5s)
Side: side plank raises (10 ea)
Butt: Leg-lock bridge (15 eax3s)
Combo: Pull ups (3+2)
Day 19 – May 15:
Front: Plank (75s)
Side: side planks (60s ea)
Butt: Glute bridge (2 legs to 1 leg, to other leg, 15s ea position x 3)
Combo: Push ups (12)
Day 20 – May 16:
Front: Plank (75s)
Side: suitcase carries (40feet ea side with 70#)
Butt: Shoulder elevated hip lifts (10ea with 20#)
Combo: Bottom up KB bench press with only shoulders on bench (10ea with 25#)
Day 21 – May 17:
Front: Single-leg lowering (10ea)
Side: split stance cable chop (10ea with 50#)
Butt: Glute bridge (2 legs to 1 leg, to other leg, 15s ea position x 3)
Combo: Rotational medicine ball throws (10ea with 6# ball)
Day 22 – May 18:
Front: Plank (75s)
Side: Side planks (60s ea)
Butt: Leg-lock bridge (15ea)
Combo: Push-ups(12)

Today’s core was done on a dock! I was a bit reluctant to excuse myself to go plank, but it was only 5 minutes, and it really isn’t something to be embarrassed about!

image

Day 23 – May 19:
Front: Single leg lowering (10ea)
Side: Bird dogs (10x5s ea)
Butt: Single leg Romanian deadlifts with torso rotation (10ea)
Combo: Pull-ups (3)
Day 24 – May 20:
Front: Plank (80s)
Side: Supine hand to knee hold (10x5s ea)
Butt: Leg-lock bridge (15ea)
Combo: Single leg squats(10ea)
Day 25 – May 21:
Front: Plank (80s)
Side: Side plank (65s ea)
Butt: Glute bridge (2 legs to 1 leg, to other leg, 15s ea position x 3)
Combo: Push-ups(15)
Day 26 – May 22:
Front: Plank (75s)
Side: Side plank (60s ea)
Butt: Shoulder elevated hip lifts (2 bench version, 10ea)
Combo: Romanian deadlifts (6 with 155#)
Day 27 – May 23:
Front: Single leg lowering (10ea)
Side: Bird dogs (10ea x5s)
Butt: Single leg Romanian deadlift with torso rotation (10ea)
Combo: Push-ups (12)
Day 28 – May 24:
Front: Plank (80s)
Side: Bear crawls (~40ft)
Butt: Glute bridge (2 legs to 1 leg, to other leg, 15s ea position x 3)
Combo: Rear foot elevated split squats (85# 6ea)
Day 29 – May 25:
Front: Plank (90s)
Side: Landmine twist (10eat)
Butt: Shoulder elevated hip lifts (15ea)
Combo: Pull-ups (3+1)
Day 30 – May 26:
Front: Stability ball rollouts (10)
Side: Side plank (70s ea)
Butt: KB swings (20 w/50# KB)
Combo: Turkish getup w/ Overhead KB carry (3ea with 25#, 30ft walk)

Done! That was pretty awesome. I definitely feel more stable and stronger in the core, which was the point. And it really is amazing how simple and easy that was.

In particular, I’m psyched that I managed to get to 90s of planking and 70s each side for side planks. The latter is a number that I believe is relevant based on input from Dr. Stuart McGill. He suggested, in a seminar, that a 70 second plank with less than 5% difference side to side can be related to almost zero chance of incurring a sports hernia. Not that I’m entirely worried about sports hernias, but I still like it as a goal.

The Core Companion Workout!

One more perk for those who sign up for the next core challenge: at the end of the 30 days, you’ll receive a copy of my Core Companion workout! It’s intended for experienced trainees who:
  • have noticed that they feel limited in their lifting by their core.
  • train for sports performance and are in-season.
  • have been doing the same old thing for-ever: your body could use a little something different for a while.
This program is not intended to permanently replace your current workout, but rather to replace it or augment it temporarily. I usually use it with Custom Strength clients for a 3 to 6 week period.
Interested in The Core Companion program? You’ll receive it free at the end of the challenge.
November 1st is coming soon!
Holy denial – you’re still reading but you haven’t signed up? Really? No, I mean it. Really? Just register already. I won’t tell anyone about your denial.
Elsbeth Vaino, B.Sc., CSCS, is a personal trainer at Custom Strength in Ottawa, whose core is much stronger today since completing her first TCITC 30 day core challenge.

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