Let’s Start At The VERY Beginning: Exercise 101

Good morning!

I hope everyone had a fantastic long weekend; we certainly did. We honored Dr. King with some sushi on Friday, a great workout and dinner with friends on Saturday, a pizza night at home (with homemade mozzarella) on Sunday, and a beautiful hike through Sullivan Canyon yesterday morning.

Sullivan Canyon hiking trail

We rounded out the long weekend at Bäco Mercat, downtown, where we had an excellent meal with a couple friends, one of which who is visiting from the UK.

Downtown LA

I’m looking out the window right now at one foggy patio. After yesterday’s 8-miler, an overcast, dreary day is exactly what I was hoping for on this self-proclaimed rest day.

…But just because today is a rest day doesn’t mean we can’t talk about exercise.

Exercise 101

Today, I wanted to go back to basics… back to where you would start if you were new to the planet and this was your absolute first time exercising. Why are we going back to black basics? Beyond the fact that this is what I’m currently learning about in my NASM textbook, I wanted to:

1) provide an accessible entry point for anyone out there who really is new to exercising,
2) stress the importance of working out in a safe way, which starts with a solid foundation, and
3) show you guys an easy core exercise that you’ll be able to do while watching TV tonight.

It all starts with the core. I repeat, the core is everything.

12015 core

Building and maintaining a strong core musculature is important for a number of reasons. It’s what supports proper posture and it’s also the primary driving force behind basically all muscle movement. It’s especially important to make sure you have a strong core before starting any type of strength training program. (Lifting weights with a weak core leads to postural compensations, aka poor form. Poor form is what causes injuries.)


This core stability exercise is deceptively simple. You won’t feel it at first, but then you will, and you’ll love it. It’s performed while lying on your back, so you’re forced to keep a straight spine. Bam! Proper form.

The one note on form that is important to be aware of is to keep your knees at a 90 degree angle the entire time. Super casual. Here’s how it goes:

Lay on your back with your knees bent (at a 90 degree angle). Your arms can be out to the sides, on your hips, behind your head, doesn’t matter. One at a time, lift your legs up, maintaining the 90 degree bend, to a perpendicular position and then lower back down. It will look sort of like a marching motion, which makes all the sense in the world because this move is called “Marching”.

Be sure to move slowly and steadily; you do not want to swing your leg up and let momentum do the work for you. The controlled lower is just as important as the controlled lift.

And there you have it, Step One of exercising which is stabilizing the core. Other basic core stabilizing moves include the two-leg hip bridge (hip thrusters), floor prone cobra, and planks.

Once we’ve sufficiently stabilized the core, we can move on to strengthening the core with fun exercises like ball crunches, reverse crunches, and cable rotations. I’ll save that for my next rest day…

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!


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