1/6 of an hour.
Five 2 minute periods back to back.
Depending on how you look at it, ten minutes can be over in the blink of an eye or it can last an eternity.
There are certain situations - such as talking on the phone to an old friend during your morning commute or enjoying a drink while laying on a Caribbean beach - where ten minutes passes by without you even realizing.
However joyous it may feel when “time flys”, there will also be instances in your life where time grinds to a halt and ten minutes turns into a grueling death march of agony through seemingly never ending 600 seconds.
My “10 minute Core Challenge” is one of those times.
10 Minute Core Challenge
The set up for this core challenge is simple. Take five different core movements, perform them for 1 minute each, and place a 1 minute static plank in between each set.
The goal is to get as many reps as possible on the different movements and to also hold the plank in perfect position for the entire 1 minute each time. It becomes crucial to focus on getting through one minute at a time rather than thinking about the total time that is remaining.
While the opposite may be true on other long challenges, a 3k run for example, where it may feel appropriate to focus on the end goal and let your mind wander, the structure and variety of exercises on this workout makes it impossible to just “zone out” for ten minutes.
You are going to need to come into this challenge supremely focused and ready to suffer through 10 sets of 60 seconds.
Here’s what the workout looks like:
|1. Ab Wheel||1||60 secs|
|2. Plank||1||60 secs|
|3. Pikes||1||60 secs|
|4. Plank||1||60 secs|
|5. Hanging Static Oblique Holds||1||60 secs|
|6. Plank||1||60 secs|
|7. Warrior Twist||1||60 secs|
|8. Plank||1||60 secs|
|9. Kneeling Plate Arches||1||60 secs|
|10. Plank||1||60 secs|
The Challenge Set Up
You will need to get all of the necessary equipment in one area and easily accessible. The key to this challenge is to be able to seamlessly transition from one exercise to the next with minimal down time.
You will need to have an ab wheel (you may substitute a barbell for barbell rollouts or a med ball for med ball rollouts if you do not have an ab wheel), a Swiss ball, and a 25lb or 35lb plate all within reach of a pull up bar.
You will also need a timer - I like to use an interval timer that beeps every 60 seconds so you can listen for the audible signal to switch stations.
Plank: Start in a push up position and lower yourself down on to your forearms. The most important thing to remember about a plank position is to keep your abs flexed and do not allow your hips to sag. If your abdominals relax and hips lower, you are putting your lower back at risk.
Ab Wheel: Kneel down and hold the ab wheel in front of you. Hunch your back up (think of the “Cat” yoga position) so your abs are crunched and engaged. Slowly roll the wheel out, allowing your hips to follow your arms. Extend fully then use your lats to pull the wheel back in, raising your body back to the starting position.
Hanging Static Oblique Holds: Jump up and grab ahold of a pull up bar with a shoulder width overhand grip. Point your toes and allow your body to hang. Without twisting or turning your hips, tighten up your oblique on one side and move your feet as far to that side as possible.
Keep your feet together and hold in that static side bend position as long as possible, then switch sides. Keep alternating back and forth until 1 minute is up.
Pikes: Place your hands on the ground in a push up position and your feet on a Swiss ball. Pull your hips up into the air into a "pike" as the ball rolls towards your hands, then slowly lower back to starting position. Be careful to not let your hips sag on the way down.
Kneeling Plate Arches: Hold a plate at waist level as you kneel down onto the floor. Bring the plate up over and down in a circle then repeat in the opposite direction. Keep your abs tight and your arms as straight as possible. Do not allow your hips to twist or turn. Keep your glutes flexed and hips pushed forward/upright the entire time.
Just in case you have a true core of steel and need an advanced version you can make a couple of substitutions. Barbell rollouts and med ball rollouts are both good substitutes for ab wheels and you can upgrade pikes to pike rollouts.
Barbell Rollout: These are similar movement to the ab wheel, but you will instead use a barbell loaded with either 95lbs or 135lbs (the bigger the plates, the greater range of motion and level of difficulty). Grab the bar with a shoulder width grip, keep your core tight and roll out until your chest hits the ground.
These really work what my friend Tom Ryan (Ohio State University head wrestling coach) calls the "snap down muscles" - the lats, serratus and upper abdomen - in addition to the hip flexors and lower abs and back.
Med Ball Rollouts: Start in a kneeling position with your hands on a medicine ball. Flex your abs then slowly roll the ball out in front of you. This is a similar position as the classic “ab wheel” but once you are extended you will have to “fight” the ball back towards you.
Pike Rollouts: Start like a traditional pike, but on the way down you are going to "lay out" and drift back until your arms are extended in front of you. Keep your lower back tight and legs stiff as they come off of the Swiss ball.
There you have it, the Coach Myers 10 Minute Core Challenge. Now remember - the goal is as many reps as possible on the movements and perfect position on each plank, but if necessary take short breaks during the plank or exercises.
Just remember that if you fail during the planks you lose the challenge…but that gives you a goal to shoot for next time! Good luck!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram @coachmyers_gutcheck for daily motivation and more of my crazy workouts.