Summer 6 Pack

Washboard abs are not just for show, they’ll protect your lower back against injury when you spend long hours of spring training on the bike too assures Joëlle Sleebos

The days are getting longer, and we can finally look forward to the arrival of summer! But that means we will be wearing beach cloths again very soon… So my question to you is: are you ready for summer?

Who does not want a slimmed down waist or even a 6-pack? Strong core muscles don’t only look nice though, they are also extremely important in order to protect our lower backs. Working with cyclists at the Concept Studio in Sea Point, I am also aware how important a strong core is for your performance.

Yes, as a cyclist your legs and gluts provide the most tangible source of power, but your abs and lower back are the vital foundations from which all movement, including the pedal stroke, stems. A solid core will help eliminate unnecessary upper-body movement, so that all the energy you produce is delivered into a smooth, efficient and powerful pedal stroke. Unfortunately cycling’s tripod position, in which the saddle, pedals and handlebar support your weight, relies on core strength but doesn’t build it, so you need to do off the bike exercises.

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Yoga Core

The following series of poses focus mainly on strengthening your core. Whether you want a 6-pack, reduce back pains or improve your performance on your bike – do this intense routine at least four times a week and you will see and feel the difference!

Series 1

A) Warm-Up

1

Before starting the next series of yoga poses, please warm-up with Suryanamaskara A series – as described in the June/July issue of Full Sus, or click here to download a printable version.

 

B) Downward Facing Dog

B

Start in the Downward Facing Dog pose.

 

C) 3 Legged-Dog

C

Inhale: Lift your right leg – point or flex foot actively

 

D) Knee to Elbow Pose

D

Exhale: Right knee to your right elbow/triceps.

Notes: Shoulders above your hands, straight spine, pull in your belly and active your legs.

Easier option: Left knee on the floor as you move your right knee forwards.

Hold Pose: hold the Knee to Elbow Pose for 5 breaths to feel your core muscles engage.

 

E) 3 Legged-Dog

E

Inhale: Lift your right leg – point or flex foot actively

 

F) Downward Facing Dog

F

Exhale: Right foot back down to the mat, feet a hip-width apart.

 

G) Child’s Pose

G

Rest and breath before repeating with the left leg.

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Series 2

A) Warm-Up:

Warm-up with Suryanamaskara A.
Warm-up with Suryanamaskara A.

Before starting the next series of yoga poses, please warm-up with Suryanamaskara A series – as described in the June/July issue of Full Sus, or click here to download a printable version.

 

B) Downward Facing Dog:

B

Start in the Downward Facing Dog pose.

 

C) Plank:

C

Inhale: Shoulders above your hand, straight spine, pull in your belly and activate your legs.

Easier Option: Knees on the mat.

Hold pose: hold the Knee to Elbow Pose for 5 breaths to feel your core muscles engage.

 

D) Elbow Plank:

D

Exhale: Put your elbows on the mat, shoulders above your elbows, straight spine, pull your belly in and activate your legs.

Easier: Knees on the mat.

Hold pose: hold the Knee to Elbow Pose for 5 breaths to feel your core muscles engage.

 

E) Side Plank on Left Elbow:

E

Inhale: Flip your heels to the left, flex your feet, and keep your legs active. Lift you your right arm. Lift your hips away from the mat.

Easier: Left knee on the mat.

Hold pose: hold the Knee to Elbow Pose for 5 breaths to feel your core muscles engage.

 

F) Elbow Plank:

F

Exhale: Put your elbows on the mat, shoulders above your elbows, straight spine, pull your belly in and activate your legs.

Easier: Knees on the mat.

Hold pose: hold the Knee to Elbow Pose for 5 breaths to feel your core muscles engage.

 

G) Side Plank on Right Elbow (Mirror ↓)

G

Inhale: Flip your heels to the right, flex your feet, and keep your legs active. Lift you your left arm. Lift your hips away from the mat.

Easier: right knee on the mat.

Hold pose: hold the Knee to Elbow Pose for 5 breaths to feel your core muscles engage.

 

 H) Elbow Plank:

H

Exhale: Put your elbows on the mat, shoulders above your elbows, straight spine, pull your belly in and activate your legs.

Easier: Knees on the mat.

Hold pose: hold the Knee to Elbow Pose for 5 breaths to feel your core muscles engage.

 

I) Plank

I

Inhale: Shoulders above your hand, straight spine, pull in your belly and activate your legs.

Easier Option: Knees on the mat.

 

J) Downward Facing Dog/Child’s Pose:

J

Exhale: Lift up your hips, stretch sit-bones up towards the ceiling, focus on keeping your legs strong. Relax your head.

Easier: Child’s Pose

Relax with Child’s Pose before repeating.

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To download a printable version of these two series of yoga poses designed to activate your core muscles please click here.

Remember to visit www.conceptstudio.co.za to book Yoga or Altitude Training classes to get in shape for summer.

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