20 Minutes of Core Non-Boredom

How I Work Out

I make no claims to being a workout guru. There’s plenty of them out there. This post is for those folks who say, “What do you do, and why?” or “How is it that you’re in better shape than last year?” or even “Why are you crawling across the floor like a spider?” Friends, this is for you.

Three Causes
A trifecta of causes birthed my workout regimen:

  1. Family Man: I don’t have much time to work out right now, and I probably won’t for the next 20 years. I had to figure something out.
  2. Bad Back: I can’t just run for an hour in the morning or go play pickup basketball every other night. I have to be thoughtful about doing core exercises.
  3. (Former?) Athlete: This means I like to go hard. Plus, I get bored with the same stuff. Running the same loop day after year? Not for me. I need variety (think P90X without the $70 DVDs).

20 Minutes of Core Non-Boredom
These brought “20 Minutes of Core Circuit” to life. Basically, it rotates through 5-7 core exercises per workout and rotate 3-4 exercises for each component. Each exercise gets 1-2 minutes, then we go straight on to the next, or take a breather and water if injury or blackout feels imminent. We may go for 18-30 minutes, but 20-22 is about right. For example:

Monday
Exercise #1: Bicycle crunches
2: Decline pushups
3: Wall squats
4: Wide-grip pullups
5: Jacknife (combined pushups and lower abs)
6: Side planks (for obliques)

Wednesday
1: Spiderman pushups
2: One-legged squats
3: Mountain climbers
4: Weighted situps
5: Weighted lunges
6: Weighted neutral grip pullups

Friday
1: Balance ball drills
2: Offset-hand pullups
3: Weighted dips
4: Side leg-ups (hanging, knees up to chest)
5: Straight planks
6: Ball-grab pushups

Structure and Variety
This program provides me with structure and variety. The structure is two-fold. Time is structured by weekly frequency (3-4 workouts/week), workout length (18-30 minutes), and component length (1-2 minutes). Exercise components must be within the “core” areas of the body: chest, back, abs, upper legs, obliques.

The variety comes from mixing up the exercises so I don’t get bored. P90X calls this “muscle confusion,” but it really is just  a good workout system. Notice this system never repeats a single exercise in the same week, but it worked each of the core areas at least once (often twice) per workout.

Anywhere, Anytime
The final cool think about 20 Minutes of Core Circuit is that you can do most (not quite all) of these exercises anywhere: a park, your living room, the back parking lot at work, your backyard. You just need a few tools and you’re good to go!

A Year of Results
I’ve been doing this for almost a year without missing more than two in a row. This has usually been due to travel, but, even then, it’s still very do-able. This workout has put me in twice the shape I was in a year ago: I’ve dropped a safe amount of weight while building lean muscle and strengthening my core.

I hope this helps some of you; it sure has helped me! Feel free to write in and tell me what you do.

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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