Walk into any gym during peak hours and you join fellow participants on the quest to find an open treadmill, elliptical or other cardio machine. Advancing technology has elevated cardio machines from a solitary sweat experience to a digital class, running club or adult playground, and the popularity of these machines will only continue to grow as many begin to understand their versatility.

You are also likely to notice a variety of fitness enthusiasts training their core in endlessly creative ways. Core training, has been largely misunderstood over the last decade. While at one time core training meant 30 minutes of crunches and sit-ups—with a focus on the ever elusive “six- pack”—more and more fitness professionals and gym-goers alike are beginning to recognize the importance of integrating the core into every type of training. From weightlifting to cardio, a focus on the importance of engaging the “core” (the trunk space from shoulders to glutes) during all types of workouts now permeates the fitness repertoire.

Given the popularity of both cardio and core training and the ongoing challenge to fit more gym time in our busy lives, there is an opportunity to rethink core training in a new way and bring our six pack to life through cardio.

Let’s take a look at how to use a machine like Precor’s Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT) for more than just spiking the heart rate.

How can the AMT facilitate core training?

Unique attributes of the AMT support a friendly environment for various types of core conditioning—from core stabilization to functional core movements. The Core Foundations segment below addresses balance, stabilization and coordination and is the first in a two-part core-training series on the AMT. The second segment addresses functional core exercises once a strong base has been achieved.

Core Foundations

Core Foundations helps you train balance, proprioception, coordination and stabilization in a cardio
environment. Core awareness and stabilization is the foundation for movement efficiency, and you can incorporate core-training concepts into your training program during or immediately following core training.

Core Foundations is a five-minute workout sequence. It is performed on the pedals of the AMT without actually turning on the unit. The pedals create an unstable training environment that exposes single-side imbalances, movement compensations and overcorrections. As an added benefit, the design of the program isometrically strengthens the muscles of the lower body. However, it accomplishes all this in a safe environment where participants can easily grasp the fixed handrails or the rodeo grip for support, if needed. Core Foundations can be performed three to four times a week for several weeks until balance and lower-body strength improve.

Core Foundations: Five-minute core-stabilization sequence

While performing the sequence below, look straight ahead, keep your shoulders back and relaxed, and keep your hips, knees and toes forward.

Warm-Up: Do five minutes in any training position at resistance 5, open stride 2.

Level Pedals: Use the first one to two minutes to find your balance on the AMT.

  1. Cross arms.
  2. Drive through your heel to bring the pedals level without lifting either heel off the pedals.
  3. Provide time to correct balance and use fixed handrails for balance, if needed.
  4. Advanced clients can perform movement with an overhead raise.

Single-Leg Drop: Perform three single-leg drops per side, holding each drop for at least two seconds. Alternate right side and left side.

  1. Cross arms.
  2. Drop one pedal down and rest until the pedal fully stops moving.
  3. Drive through your heel to bring the pedals back to level without lifting either heel off the pedals.
  4. Provide time to correct balance and use fixed handrails for balance, if needed.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

Single-Leg Slide: Perform three single-leg slides per side, holding each slide for five seconds. Alternate right and left sides.

  1. Cross arms.
  2. Keep the pedals in the same horizontal plane and slide one pedal forward and one back.
  3. Keep your knees slightly bent, and push through your front forefoot and back heel.
  4. Provide time to correct balance and use fixed handrails for balance, if needed.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

Workout: Perform any AMT cardio workout, or continue with your strength-training set.

Integrating core and cardio

This second AMT core-training segment demonstrates how you can integrate core training into your clients’ cardio workouts. This five-minute training segment builds on the Core Foundations sequence. The movements included here require exercisers to actively stabilize and engage the core in a dynamic environment. Movements range from full to partial machine support.

Perform this AMT sequence two to three times.

A similar version of this post appeared as two separate posts—AMT Core Foundations and Introducing Core Into Your Cardio—on Precor.com.

Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia, Thinkstock; Courtesy of Precor