Core Conditioning Report

Posted by Cassandra Brewer on 2 July 2013

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I am very excited to now be joining the Personal Training team here at Fitness Canterbury.


Having already had an opportunity to get to know some of you since working on Reception I hope to now help you achieve all of your health and fitness goals.

I employ the use of many different training disciplines and offer a sustainable approach to nutrition in order to achieve optimal wellbeing. No matter what age, size or gender you are.

Core Strength plays an integral role in our everyday movement and functions and is an area I encourage everybody to include in the exercise regime.

Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned sports (wo)man developing core stability can bring countless benefits. And I’m not just talking about doing crunches either. Our core is made up of a series of muscles including Rectus Abdominis and Transverse Abdominis in the front and Oblique’s or Intercostals on the sides. Using a range of exercises to target and isolate each of these can improve your overall core strength. As well as including compound exercises where multiple muscles are recruited to perform a specific movement i.e.; Squats, the core needs to contract as the legs bend and the hip flexes. This acts to avoid unnecessary load being placed on the lower back.

You may be familiar with the terms “Brace your abdominals”, “Bind your abs”, “Lock your tummy” and so on……. So what does it all mean you ask?

It simply refers to the action that happens when you contract your stomach muscles as if you were expecting to receive a punch to your middle. That is the ‘Brace’ or ‘Bind’. Core stability comes when you are able to hold the bind and continue to breathe in a normal, steady manor.

Practicing this technique during exercise can support and protect your back. Therefore avoiding injury and allowing you to increase range of motion and improve your technique. Dancers, Laborers, Body Builders, Golfers, New Mums you can all benefit from having a personal Core Conditioning Program specific to your abilities and goals.

Those of you who suffer from chronic or acute back pain can also benefit from building strength and endurance in your mid-section and restore your natural lumber curve.

Persistent back pain is often the result of sitting for long periods at a time causing compression of the spine and developing 

a rounded back. So if you’re at a desk or driving in your car all day and this sounds like you, it’s time to take action!

 After assessing your conditions your trainer can implement a series of controlled exercises into your programme and provide tips and tools to get you back on track! There’s no need to miss out on achieving your goals or playing the sports and doing the things that you love.

If you need rehabilitation or want to revamp your training I would love to help.


Use the following exercises to build strength through your entire core. Each exercise isolates different areas. Increase repetitions or duration as you begin to feel stronger, make sure you always maintain good form.

Ab Crunch–  Works the Rectus Abdominis


 Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Draw a breath in and as you exhale crunch up lifting only your shoulder blades from the floor. Slowly return to the floor at the same tempo as you breathe in to prepare for the next rep.

Beginner: Using Ab Rocker

2 sets of 15 reps

 Experienced: Finger tips behind ears (without Ab Rocker)

3 sets of 20+

Plank– Works the Transverse Abdominis

BridgeLying on your front, position elbows under your shoulders. Draw a breath in and tense your stomach as though you want to touch your belly button to your tailbone. Lift your hips from the floor and continue to hold the tension in your tummy. It is important to breathe steadily. Keep your back flat to ensure safe posture. Check your form in the mirror.

Beginner: Remain Static on knees or feet.

Bridge22 sets of 10-20 seconds

Experienced: Try lifting one foot from the floor for a 2 second  count, lower and alternate with the other foot.

3 sets of 15-30 seconds.


Kettle Bell Crunch– Obliques/Intercostal




Stand with feet hip width apart holding a kettle bell or dumbbell in one hand. Tilt from the waist over to the side away from the weight in hand. Lower until you feel a stretch down the torso. Inhale then as you exhale squeeze your tummy to bring yourself back up. Perform 8-12 reps for one set. Swap hands and repeat on the other side.

 Remember to always keep weights light when starting out to avoid injury. Increase reps gradually. Continue to breathe trough each movement.

Beginner: 2 sets of 8-10 reps each side.

Experienced: 3 sets of 10-12 reps each side