May 09, 2013

Core: Are You Phoning it In?






This is just a quick post, a new experiment here at Cranky Fitness, land of the 10,000 word digression-filled ramble.

Anyway, I have recently discovered a kickass way to get more serious about core work that I wanted to share.  Not that I'm necessarily gonna get more serious, but at least I discovered an intriguing new way to do it.

So I was already aware that there are all kinds of videos with exercise ideas and demonstrations on the web.  The problem?  I don't tend to exercise in front of the computer, and I can never remember anything I've seen 30 seconds later, let alone hours or days later at the gym where it might come in handy.

And yes, I'm do know they've invented a thing called the smartphone which can be taken to a gym, and I even own one!

Yet you can't do most exercises while staring at your cell phone.  (I will leave aside the whole unrelated issue of people who sit on weight machines that I WANT TO USE obliviously texting away, theoretically planning on doing another set someday).

However, there is one set of exercises particularly well-suited to watching on a cell phone:  core exercise on the floor.  You can plonk a cell phone down on the floor and do plank variations over it: the plonk and plank!

This first one routine I found randomly on Youtube. First, before you go to the gym or basement or whereever, you watch video for the explanation. Then send the link to your cell phone. When it's time to try it for real, you scooch the time up to 1:40, set it down on the floor, and do the whole routine while hovering over it.

It's both a test to see if you are awesome, and  (to me) an excruciating plank workout.  Somehow, having this big guy panting there right with you pushes you further than you might normally go.  (Note: I made it to the end but with much cursing and with horrible form so it was really kinda cheaty.  Am working on making it for real).

So check out this plank test/hideous core exercise:



And if you're looking for more videos, Kim at Day with KT has a bunch.  Here's another alternative move to mix it up with planks:



And if you want to add lower back work, the same big dude who created the plank torture test has some face down lower back stuff which I fully intend to try next time I'm at the gym! Or, um, not.  We'll see.



Do you guys use phones at the gym or otherwise incorporate video training into exercise?


35 comments:

  1. I've never done these core exercises :-(

    I was on the stepper while reading your post and watching the video so I'll get back to you after I try it later.

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    1. Sounds like you are quite the multi-tasker!

      You're so fit Dr. J, you will probably ace the test, but I'll be curious what you think.

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    2. Okay, I could do it. Because I don't do planks I had to find each position but once I did, no problem. I have felt for a while that the martial arts training of mime built my core before I knew what a core was!

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  2. First - thank you for the link and video share!!!
    I'm going to definitely try that test!! I love new ways to make planking more challenging!!

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    1. Love your videos Kim! And bet you will totally cruise through it given all the stuff you do. But for me it was HARD!!!

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  3. Plonk and plank *snerk*!

    I can't watch videos at work, but my Personal Torquemada has had me do the thing where you go from elbow plank to hand plank and back over and over until you collapse and have to ask you husband to tie your shoes the next day because your stomach hurts so bad. Are they about that?

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    1. This is kinda similar Trabb's Boy! But you alternate limbs so the unpleasantness is mixed over a wider area but is perhaps less intense in any one spot. It sucked while I did it but did not need shoe tying assistance the next day. :)

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    2. I feel for you. My trainer has me doing those up and downs too. The idea seemed easy, and I was thinking "hey I get to rest on my forearms for at least half this" . Boy was I wrong. I know I am done when my face hits the floor.

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    3. Argh, Tina, that sounds awful enough that you and Trabb's boy have me convinced to try these ups and down thingies. Though if you two could put together youtube videos coaching me along until collapse, that would really increase the liklihood. :)

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    4. Tina, can you imagine their conferences, with all that hand-rubbing and bwah-ha-ha'ing they must do?

      And Crabby ... uh ... love to help but ... uh ... no.

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  4. I don't even own a smart phone (I would become addicted so I resist buying one with all my might!), but I do all those core exercises - and other variations - on a regular basis and you know what? It's helped my running tremendously! I cannot recommend core exercises strongly enough!

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    1. Awesome HSH, I didn't realize core stuff would help running, but it makes sense!

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  5. Ok - I LOVE the big fella! I'm a sucker for that less 'refined' east coast way of speaking ("Hey! I ain't just demonstratin' - I'm sweatin' right along with ya!") So, torturously long hold times and the big dude - what's not to love?

    And what a great idea about hovering over the phone!
    I don't frequent a gym - but, this would be a great exercise while traveling method. Thanks!

    Some of the moves in the second video clip of The Big Guy are ones my PT gave me to do not long ago and they really do help. My opinion = EVERY core exercise helps with running - and just about every other life activity :).

    And - that dynamo, Kim... omg! How does she DO all these things?! Plus, she looks to also be having FUN. I am in awe.

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    1. Great to hear your endorsement of the lower back exercises, Anon, and I too loved the accent. Makes me think it might be time to head to the East coast again. Oh wait, I'm doing exactly that in a couple weeks!

      And totally agree that kim is amazing!

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  6. First, I think you should trademark "plonk and plank"!
    beyond that... thank you for this. I am such a "core" pusher. I tell everyone how important it is and then don't do it myself.
    I'm going to try this. I'm not quite ready for some of these things but I'll get there. Meantime... there's plenty of other stuff out there.
    I aim to get back to pilates at some point. That was the strongest in my core I've EVER been. The most flexible too. Ahhhhh, abs.... can't wait.

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    1. Hey Tree, I can so relate to "I tell everyone how important it is and then don't do it myself." I really don't do enough core work. And pilates is one of those things I keep thinking I SHOULD do but never have. Though hell, that list could circle the earth it's so long.

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    2. If you've never tried pilates... I can't recommend it enough. I don't know your strengths and weaknesses... but it's just different and even though I have always been very flexible, it wasn't until Pilates that I finally got those couple of eternally tight places... (for me it's always been excruciating right behind my knees to really stretch.) I think flexibility might be the next in importance after core strength.

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  7. Replies
    1. No phones for me. Hard to look at the phone while multitasking facial expressions such as grimacing, squeezing eyes shut with whole body shaking. Besides, not sure phone would survive me repeatedly collapsing on to it.

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    2. I drop my phone about 5 times a day Tina, and it miraculously survives, so I suspect sidewalks and bathroom floors are harder than your face! :) But yeah, totally get the reluctance to bring the darn thing into a workout. Nice to get SOME break from it.

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  8. Well this is timely! I am enjoying my first day in my new obscenely large glass walled office. We are calling it the yoga studio. I am being encouraged to work up a routine of my most disturbing yoga moves to be used when the auditors visit and move in next door. Me clenching my butt while performing a plank is definitely called for.

    Why they would let a fool like me have glass walls and cactus plants is beyond me. I have already drawn the sun and a kite on my glass.

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    1. Dang, I've been pretty happy working at home, Cindy, but you make we want to go back to an office!.. As long as I could work right outside your glass one and watch the goings on.

      Just make sure your functional fitness doesn't involve throwing any stones...

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  9. I don't use the phone or video or anything else in the gym but me & what is there! I do try to remember OR write down OR print out stuff I want to try - these are great videos & of course I know Kim! :)

    I wish I could take these videos with me.. but I would more likely do this type of stuff at home separate from my workout.

    Thx!!!

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  10. These are great. I use workout videos on my smartphone all the time, mostly for body weight circuits and HIIT workouts. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. IM SOO GONNA TRY THIS TODAY.
    during a video skype.
    laptop on floor underneath me.
    that will work right? :-)

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    1. First glance, without first thought.
      A haiku comment?
      Must read more carefully.

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  12. The plonk and plank..made me laugh! I know that planks are incredible for core work; watching those makes me tired just thinking about it. Guess I should just suck it up and do it...consistently.

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  13. Death Ride GrandmaMay 10, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    What a great idea! I will try to remember the idea the next time I am looking for a workout at home or in a hotel. Like you, I find it pretty much impossible to remember an actual workout.

    Only two concerns: first, am I the only one whose gym says to keep phones in the locker? (Fear of photos) and second, even if they tolerate dropping, do your phones put up with sweat dripping steadily onto them??? Mine would certainly experience that in a serious plank session.

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    1. DRG, I didn't realize many gyms have phone prohibitions! Seems a tad paranoid, but that would definitely defeat the plonk and plank scheme.

      And good point about the drippy sweat; must remind self not to do the plank routine post-cardio, that's when I'm the most drip prone.

      Theoretically, even for moves where watching while working out is impractical, it's probably more likely in, say a hotel scenario, to do a routine if I at least had videos clips queued up on the phone or laptop to remind me what to do, yet that amount of planning sounds kind of daunting. I know there are all kinds of apps and stuff, but that would mean dealing with someone else's selection of exercises; hard for a stubborn crab to do!

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    2. DRG, my gym disapproves of making calls while working out, but more than half the people I see there are using a smartphone or other device to record their workouts, including me. Rest between sets is filled with tap-tappity-tap.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    3. Death Ride GrandmaMay 12, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Crabby, I just figured I'd go back to this column and use the link next time I want core/abs when traveling. Planning is something I always plan to do, but...

      Mary Anne, my gym used to just talk about conversations, although as you point out in your next comment, the music is so pathetic it is hard to imagine a voice being a worse companion. But after a few scary and well-publicized phone-photo articles, they started putting up signs telling us not to use phones other than in the lobby. Not quite sure what they think we will do with them while working out if they are not allowed in the locker room?

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  14. I don't use video to work out to. I've admired some of Kim's without trying to actually do them, but the big guy is doing yoga in both videos, so I might try the plank challenge when my shoulder is back to normal. I can't do half of what I usually do with plank at the moment, much less those long holds.
    What I use my not-phone iPod touch for at the gym, besides recording my workout, is to drown out the crappy gym music with a podcast. I couldn't watch something and do it at the same time; I'd have to learn it first.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  15. Planks are my favorite! They are so hard but so worth it! I once did a 15 minute plank!
    www.activewomom.com

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  16. Late to the party again... I am a fan of the lolo apps. They have them for every major muscle group. They talk to you (including counting off time) - giving encouragement and form tips. It would just help if I used them more. :) (I've picked a few up while they have been free, but they aren't too pricey if you're okay with paying for apps.)

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