Live Spartan-Train or Die #3: Core Workout

This Train or Die session is, I will be blunt, not a fun one for summer (and it’s always summer where I’m at). Make sure to drink plenty of water and get some salts in your system before and after this cardio/core workout.

The philosophy behind this workout is twofold:

  • strengthening your core improves almost every aspect of your fitness
  • running builds your cardiovascular strength and endurance, and stresses your core

The Tempo Run

Building on this philosophy, the first part of this Train or Die core workout is a tempo run. A tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold run. Tempo running improves a pivotal physiological variable for successful running: metabolic fitness.

Tempo runs accomplish this by increasing your muscle fatigue threshold. During runs your body releases lactate and hydrogen ions (byproducts of metabolism) into your muscles. These make the muscles acidic and eventually lead to fatigue. Tempo runs train you at a higher intensity, slowly increasing your fatigue threshold. We recommend for this workout that your tempo be 75% of your maximum heart rate. You can find a couple alternate ways to gauge your tempo in the table below.

  Total Time Tempo (3 methods) Rest
Tempo Run 30-40 minutes Heartrate: 75%

Percieved Exertion: a 7 in a 1-10 scale of exertion.

Conversation Test: 2-3 word conversations ok. Extended dialogue too easy.

5 minutes after run

The Core Workout

Firstly, always remember when you train your core that you are training more than your abdominal muscles. The core is a collection of muscles including your abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, obliques, parts of your upper hip muscles, and other stabilizing muscles in your trunk.

The core workout should follow your run after about 5 minutes of rest (or just enough to get your heart rate down). The workout consists of 4 sets of 5 exercises. For each exercise you should perform as many repetitions as possible in 30 seconds before resting for 30 seconds. Proceed through all 5 exercises before beginning a new set. There is no additional rest period between sets.

  Sets Time/Reps Rest
Crunches with elevated legs 4 sets 30 sec./AMAP reps (as many as possible) 30 sec.
Flutter Kicks 4 sets 30 sec./AMAP reps 30 sec.
Left Side Plank 4 sets 30 sec. 30 sec.
Right Side Plank 4 sets 30 sec. 30 sec.
Oblique Crunches 4 sets 30 sec./AMAP reps 30 sec.

Conclusion: Intensify the Future

The reason this is such a great workout is because of its scalability. You can always increase your fatigue threshold by increasing the tempo of your runs (remember, time and tempo not distance are the keys). You can always intensify this simple core workout by increasing the exercise time and decreasing rest time (35 sec. exercise, 25 sec. rest). If you want to spruce up the core workout every now and then, try doing the below exercises in the same fashion.

  • leg tuck and twist
  • regular crunches
  • touch sky
  • leg lifts
  • regular plank

Train hard my friends!