I’ve been writing an exercise column for Drum magazine entitled “Pump It Up” for awhile now, so a drummer-centric variation of the following was published in the March 2012 issue. (Most of these articles are variations of material from my book, Muscles, Mangos and Meditation.)
Any kind of exercise you do – and most any kind of daily movement, for that matter – will require the use of the core muscles of your abs and lower back. When these muscles begin to atrophy or weaken, it’s like the structural center of your body begins to crumble and all kinds of other issues can kick in, from your knees and feet, to your spine and shoulders. It’s all connected. So take 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week and make sure you’re keeping your core in good shape.
For weight training, running, martial arts, or virtually any other strenuous physical activity, a strong core is a non-negotiable part of superior performance. And for the coveted 6-pack look of well-structured abs, you will want to train and condition this intricate network of muscles so they will be visibly defined as you melt away any additional belly fat through cardio work. So be sure and build some core work into your long-term exercise agenda.
Obviously, there are 101 different kind of exercises you can do to strengthen your core, but the following three comprise a simple and effective foundational approach that you can always fall back on. Add to and variate from here.
Scope it out:
“Hard-Core” Midsection Workout
Here’s a quick, anytime/anywhere workout you can do to strengthen your core, which comprises the critical foundational muscles of your abs and lower back. A strong core will provide stability for your arms and legs and help prevent fatigue and injury, especially in the lower back.
You will perform all three exercises, one set after the other, for one minute apiece, to create one complete cycle. You might only start with one or two cycles, and you might have to take one or more five-second breaks as needed during any of these one-minute sets. Eventually, though, you will want to repeat this cycle several times per workout, three or four days per week, and strive to perform each set all the way through without resting.
1. Lie down flat on the floor with your lower back against the ground, and place your hands lightly behind your head.
2. Raise your legs off the ground and begin doing a slow bicycle pedal motion.
3. As your left knee moves toward your torso, raise and twist your trunk so that your right elbow lightly touches it (or at least comes close to it). Repeat this movement with the right leg and left elbow, and that’s one complete rep.
4. Do not pull at your neck or try to go to fast. Slow and steady motion is what you’re after here.
Seated Trunk Twists
1. Sit on the ground with your legs outstretched in front of you.
2. Hold a light dumbbell, heavy book (or object of similar weight) with both hands in front of your chest, then lean back a few inches so your abs are slightly contracted. (I’m actually holding a drum stick bag in the photo.)
3. Slowly twist your trunk to the left and lightly touch the object to the ground, then repeat this exact movement to the right side. That’s one full rep.
4. Start off slow and easy, gradually increasing your range of motion for each twist.
1. Lie face down on the ground, resting on your forearms and the sides of your hands.
2. Raise yourself off the ground so that you’re balancing on your toes, elbows and forearms.
3. Keep your entire body rigid like a plank, in a straight line from your head to your heels, and contract your abs to ensure that your midsection doesn’t sag.
4. Hold this position for 15 to 60 seconds and enjoy the burn!
This is one complete cycle. Repeat one, two, or more times for an ass-kicking core workout.