Your Goal: Accelerate Your Gains
Your Time: 10 Minutes
Your movement patterns when you work out can make a difference in your results: In a body that’s properly aligned, energy travels from the torso to the arms and legs. The better you can transfer energy through your body, the more efficiently you’ll move.
The fastest way to get all your movable parts in motion is to tidy up what strength coaches call the “pillar.” The pillar consists of your shoulder, torso, and hip stability.
Together, it provides a central axis from which to move. If you lack pillar strength, specifically hip stability, the energy “leaks out” at your hips, making the rest of your body weaker. But build a strong, solid pillar and you’ll not only look and move better than ever – you’ll also make greater gains in every exercise.
Perform the exercises shown on the right as a circuit, moving from one exercise to the next without rest. Do the workout 3 days a week, with at least a day between sessions. Each circuit takes about 10 minutes, so repeat the circuit if time permits. If you work out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, do the circuit once on Monday and Friday, and twice on Wednesday (a 1/2/1 schedule) in weeks 1 and 3. In weeks 2 and 4, do the circuit twice on Monday and Friday, and once on Wednesday (2/1/2).
How Strong Is Your Core?
The plank measures the strength, stamina, and stability of your torso – the centre of all your body’s movement. Anyone can do it, no matter what shape you’re in at the moment.
Lie face-down in a modified push-up position, with your forearms and toes resting on the floor. Your elbows should be under your shoulders and bent 90 degrees, and your body should form a straight line from your ears to your heels. Keeping your body straight, contract your abdominals forcefully. See how long you can hold this position. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the move.
Track Your Progress
Add up your times for both reps of the plank and record the total in the chart below. Then follow this workout and retest yourself every week.
1. Medicine-Ball Hand Walk
Works the chest, shoulders, and abs
Assume the classic push-up position with a medicine ball next to your right hand. Place your right hand on the ball, then lift your left hand off the floor (balancing briefly on the ball with just your right hand) and place it on the ball. Next, place your right hand on the floor to the right of the ball, then place your left hand on the floor next to your right hand. The ball should now be by the outside of your left hand. Repeat in the opposite direction. That’s 1 repetition.
The plan: Start with 8 repetitions in week 1. Do 10 reps in week 2, and 12 in weeks 3 and 4.
2. Front Pillar Bridge With Diagonal Arm Lift
Works the shoulders and trunk
Assume a modified push-up position, with your forearms resting on the floor. Your elbows should be under your shoulders and bent 90 degrees. Keeping your torso steady, raise your right arm forward and to the right, so that it points to 2 o’clock. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then lower your arm and repeat with your left arm, raising it to 10 o’clock.
The plan: In week 1, do 8 repetitions. Do 10 in week 2, and 12 in weeks 3 and 4.