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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v08n19)
Gettin' Ripped in Ripple - by Laura Minor
posted: Sept. 16, 2011

Gettin’ Ripped in Ripple header

Train Inside→Out!
Joe has finally decided to start an exercise program. He decides to begin by lacing up his sneakers, and heading out the door for a jog. During Joe's jog he feels weak, sloppy and breathes heavily. He has an awful experience on his first workout and after a night's sleep, he wakes up with a sore lower back and achy knees. This is very unmotivating and after several days of soreness, he dreads the idea of doing another workout. As Dr. Phil would say "How's that working for you, Joe?" Unfortunately his is a story I have heard hundreds of times.
Many people leap into a new fitness program with uncautioned vigor, and end up frustrated and, even worse, injured. The problem is not exercise. The solution is where to start when embarking on a fitness program. In almost all cases, it is crucial to build up core strength in order to get the most out of any type of workout.
It's important to develop strength in your core (or trunk) as the muscles around this area protect your spine and help prevent back injury. Core training focuses on muscular areas of the abdominals including obliques (your sides), upper and lower back (deltoids, rhomboids), hips (gluteals, hip flexors, psoas), outer and inner thighs (abductors and adductors), hamstrings, even some pectorals and triceps work.
Most of us sit in an office chair for eight to nine hours a day. Our bodies are not designed to do this and, over time, it often results in poor posture. Posture and fitness are very closely related. If you have bad posture any exercise you do can put you in danger. Joe's weak core and resulting poor posture were the culprits in his awful experience and soreness.
I call core training "inside→out" training, since in order to maximize the benefits of the muscles that we SEE we should start by training the muscles that we DON'T see (but hopefully over time, they will become more visible!).
So, what is the best way to train these muscles? If you are new to an exercise program, it is wise to start with the basics and work your way up. Exercise is like learning a foreign language. . . start with the basic vocabulary, and then build up to the more complicated areas. WAY too many people skip the first chapters with visions of a six-pack and strain a muscle, often in the back. . . which is never a good thing! Rome wasn't built in a day and the same applies to your body. But, it doesn't take long to FEEL the effects of regular, structured program with adequate rest. Here are a few examples of the hundreds of core exercises (of course it is wise to consult with a certified personal trainer ensure proper form).
Front Plank: Either from your hands or forearms, face down on toes knees off the ground legs fully extended. Attempt to get in a flat back position (no hyperextending!), and hold for as long as you can with good form. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
Seated Twist: Sitting up, lean back to a position that doesn't bother your back, yet is challenging for the abdominals. With your arms extended forward, turn shoulders side to side for as long as you can with good form and no back pain. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
Supermans: Lying face down on a mat. Extend arms forward, lift both arms and legs. Alternating lifting opposite arm and legs (so it appears as though you are flying through the air). Do this for as long as you can with proper form. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
As I said, these are just the tip of a huge core exercise iceberg. If you perform 20 minutes of these types of exercises 2 to 3 times a week you with feel a huge difference not only during other types of workouts but also all day long. Love the BURN!

Laura Minor owner and operator of So.Be.Fit. Personal Training and Fitness studio located at 54th and the Monon. She is passionate about teaching others how to "FIT" exercise and physical activity into their daily lives, and have fun while doing so! Visit her website at or e-mail
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