A Neglected Part of Your Core Work?
By Joan Kent, PhD
Talk about happy accidents. When I discovered exercises for the posterior chain of core muscles some years ago, it was just in the nick of time. Maybe they can help you, too.
Peter Park was Lance Armstrong's strength and conditioning coach. Several years ago, he developed a series of core strengthening exercises he called "Foundation." The exercises focus on the posterior chain of muscles, such as glutes, hamstrings and low back.
This approach to core training shifts the emphasis from the abdominals to the larger muscles in the back of the body.
Because the program was developed with a world-class cyclist in mind, it's no surprise that it helps indoor cycling students sit better and feel stronger on their bikes.
I used it in an athletic training program that I ran for about 13 years. Adding the 5 beginner exercises to our strength routine helped my program participants to improve remarkably. Their posture was noticeably different as they cycled. They were stronger, their backs were straighter, and their ribcages lifted, not sunken. They could lean forward for longer periods without fatigue – and with less pressure on the handlebars.
An impressive set of changes. And they looked great on the bikes!
I discovered Park's strengthening program through my coach, read the book by Goodman and Park, and started doing the routine daily. Some changes were immediately obvious.
What Was the "Happy Accident"?
The most fortunate (for me) part of this occurred in an unfortunate way. A few weeks after beginning this new core program, I crashed my bike and broke my pelvis in three places.
The doctor told me not to do any type of "crunch" or abdominal exercise. Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to skipping my usual core training and watching my strength deteriorate over the 12 weeks the doc said it would take to heal.
Yet these new Foundation exercises were both possible and effective for me because they don't stress the abs. They kept my core extremely strong throughout the healing – and possibly shortened my healing time. I recovered in 5 ½ weeks, not 12.
Based on that success, I continue to do the exercises 5 times a week and genuinely enjoy the Founder exercise in particular.
And It's Not Just Me
One colleague, an indoor cycling instructor, added the routine to her daily workout. She said she noticed improvements in her lower back and reduction in chronic leg pain.
I've noticed changes in both directions – improvement when I'm consistent with it and backsliding when I wasn't. I'm sold on this approach.
The Founder exercise itself is short enough to fit at the beginning or the end of any regular core routine. It can be done in street clothes (remove high heels), so it can be done in an office. It can be done several times a day.
A few posterior core exercises plus the Founder make a worthy addition to any workout. You don't have to be a cyclist to benefit from these exercises, and I encourage you to try them.
For other workout suggestions or for tips on nutrition, a key part of fitness, just visit www.LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free Empowered Eating Consult. Find out how easy it is to make small changes in fitness or food that lead to big results. I'd love to help you.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood, and Transform Your Health.