Strengthen Your Ride With This 5-Move Senior Core Workout
A decent core workout will give you the strength that every fitness professional preaches the importance of, whether you’re pushing through a hard ride, chasing after the fam, or just going through life. And, for good reason. “Many of our everyday actions happen through a transfer of force via the core,” says Kurt Ellis, C.P.T., C.S.C.S., P.E.S., owner of Beyond Numbers Performance in New York City. “A strong core allows us to obtain ideal movement patterns and ideal posture.”
Unfortunately, once we turn 30, Ellis says we tend to lose about 3 to 8 percent of our muscle mass per decade—and it climbs higher after that 60th birthday.
Having a strong core can help mitigate that muscle loss, helping you maintain that ideal posture. It also helps with balance and stability, which also declines with age.
Enter: this senior core workout. Ellis designed it to be easily scaled for any fitness level, regardless of age. The movements also incorporate the static and dynamic principles of core training, so you really get the most out of your session.
He suggests incorporating this no-equipment routine into your training at least 2 to 3 times per week, either on its own—you can get it done in as little as 15 minutes—or as part of another strength workout.
How to do this core workout:
Perform each exercise for the prescribed amount of time and number of sets. Utilise full breaths (deep inhale and full exhale) throughout. Take minimal rest in between sets—no more than 30 seconds—then rest for one minute before moving to the next exercise.
1. Beast Hold
Great for: Abs, shoulders, and chest for upper body strength; improved posture; better pedal stroke efficiency
How to do it: Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees with wrists under the shoulders and knees stacked under hips. Engage your core and lift knees 2.5-5cm off the ground. Hold for 15 to 60 seconds (depending on fitness level). Slowly lower knees to ground. Repeat for 2 to 4 sets.
Make it harder: Lift one leg 2.5-5cm off the ground. Hold for 1 to 3 seconds before lowering back to ground and repeating with opposite leg. To progress the movement even further, lift one leg and reach opposite arm under your stomach at the same time.
2. Crab Toe Touch
Great for: Abs, shoulders, and chest for upper body strength and improved posture; hip flexors for stronger pedal stroke
How to do it: Start this core workout in a seated position—feet flat on the floor, legs at 45 degrees, both arms placed behind you, chest proud, shoulders back. At the same time, lift your hips off the ground while extending one leg and touching your toes with the opposite hand. Return your hand back to start and slowly lower back to the ground. Repeat on the other side. Perform 10 to 16 reps, alternating sides. Complete 2 to 4 sets.
Make it easier: Start in a seated position—feet flat on the floor, legs at 45 degrees, both arms placed behind you, chest proud, shoulders back. Fix your eyes on your right hand. At the same time, lift your hips off the ground to full extension while reaching left hand toward the ceiling (feet stay on the floor). Lower back to start. Switch sides. Complete prescribed number of reps and sets.
3. Modified Star Plank
Great for: Shoulders, obliques, and hips to prevent lower back discomfort (or pain) on rides
How to do it: Start lying on one side, both legs stacked on top of each other. Bend both knees to about 90 degrees. Place your elbow directly under the shoulders, forearm perpendicular to the body, palm down. This is a modified side plank start position.
Push through the knee resting on the ground, lifting your hips off the ground while keeping the top leg elevated and bent. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds; slowly lower to start. Switch sides and repeat. Complete 2 to 4 sets.
4. Kneeling High Plank With Alternating Reach
Great for: Abs, shoulders, and chest for upper body strength and improved posture
How to do it: Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees with wrists under the shoulders and knees stacked under hips. Bring the hips forward to form a straight line from your head to your knees. (This is your kneeling high plank.)
Keeping your pelvis “tucked under” and your core engaged, alternate raising each arm straight out to eye level, pausing for 2 to 4 seconds before lowering your arm back to kneeling high plank. Continue alternating for 20 to 60 seconds. Complete 2 to 4 sets.
5. Core Workout Gold – Forearm Plank With Alternating 3-Point Hold
Great for: Strengthening your entire anterior core musculature (upper torso down to hips) to strengthen your pedal stroke, improve posture, reduce lower back discomfort
How to do it: Start in a prone position lying on your stomach, legs extended, elbows under your shoulders and forearms flat on the ground. Lift into a forearm plank, keeping your spine neutral and creating tension by pulling your elbows to your feet and feet to your elbows.
Keeping your base position sturdy, reach on arm under your stomach and hold for 2 to 4 seconds. Lower arm back to forearm plank. Repeat with the opposite arm. Continue alternating for 30 to 60 seconds. Complete 2 to 4 sets.