What have I been up to lately? Abs, abs and more abs.  I posted awhile back that I was having some hip trouble & a lower back pain when running, and that I’d finally gotten around to going to a physical therapist.  The therapist has since diagnosed me with two issues:

  1. My abs were extremely weak (she told me that on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the weakest, they were a 1).  She also noticed that  my right side is significantly weaker than my left.  So she put me through a remedial abs program.  By doing more core work, I could stabilize my spine.  I have been doing the ab work over the past 4 weeks, and it has made improvements in my running.  I used to get a lower back twinge, which I was afraid was a nerve issue, but now it is completely gone.  And the bonus of getting some defined abs isn’t too bad either.  My ab workout is listed below.
  2. Small tear in a muscle near where the hamstring connects to the hip.  We don’t think it’s the hamstring, but actually a smaller muscle.  I still feel a soreness in my rear groin area while running, so my therapist has suggested deep tissue massage (darn!).

The defined abs haven’t come at no cost.  My workouts have included 2 1-hour sessions at Physical Therapy per week, plus 20-30 minutes of ab workout at home daily.  It’s not easy.  I’ve worked up to this ~30 min workout that I time with my iPhone every morning:

  • 2 mins toe taps (lie on back, bend knees up & lift feet off floor, then tap down to floor; you can do this one leg at a time)
  • 2 mins legs side-to-side (lie on back, legs straight up, move legs laterally side to side, 45 deg or less, don’t move hips)
  • 2 mins bicycle circles (very slow – one knee in, one knee out, then reverse)
  • 30 leg circles (with legs straight in air & together, cw & ccw; you could do this one leg at a time to start)
  • 2 mins arm lifts while on all fours (lift arms one at a time to be parallel with back, do not shift back)
  • 2 mins leg slides while on all fours (slide legs out one at a time, do not shift back)
  • 30 opposite arm, opposite leg taps while on all fours, both sides (opposite arm & leg extends, taps away from body simultaneously)
  • 3 x 30 second planks, with toe taps when possible
  • 3 x 30 second side planks on each side


And no, I’m not ready yet to bare my abs a la Situation style (actually, I’m almost sorry to put his image here as I don’t find him at all attractive), but I bet his core strength & stability is amazing.  I can feel the difference in all my activities (swimming, yoga, etc.) that using my core makes.   The planks are the hardest, but apparently side planks are one of the most efficient ab workouts you can do.  I’ll keep you updated on the outcome of the physical therapy sessions – I’m supposed to get an ab routine/program that I can use long term to keep my abs as strong as they are now.

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