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mbg Moves With Helen Phelan: Core & More Routine

December 7, 2020
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Welcome to mbg moves! In 2020, we've been working out at home more than ever—and we know our readers are, too. To help keep your fitness routine feeling fresh, we're releasing a new at-home workout every Monday, to start your week off strong. Each month will feature routines from a different incredible trainer we adore. Our December trainer spotlight: Helen Phelan

Core strength is essential to any kind of daily movement—from walking up your stairs to flowing through a workout. A stable core sets up you to stand tall, confident, and pain free. That's why, this month, I'll be sharing a new workout each week with elements of core stability woven through. Not only will it help you move more functionally throughout your life, but it will also help you feel a bit more centered as we close out the year.

To kick things off, we're starting with a Pilates routine that completely targets that core, in less than 10 minutes. This workout is designed to challenge your core from multiple angles to give you the most spinal support possible. Grab your mat, and let's get started!

Your 4-week challenge: Every week this month (keep an eye out for a new workout every Monday), I'll be sharing a routine that targets various parts of your body, all with some core work. By the end of the month, I encourage you to make core work a regular part of your weekly routine—whether that's one day a week, three, or even daily. I can't wait to hear how you do!


Time: 10 minutesEquipment: NoneInstructions: Move from one exercise to the next without rest. Complete eight breaths total for each movement.

Single Leg Stretch Variations

Image by mindbodygreen
  1. Lie on your back. Find your neutral spine: Think of your pubic bone and hip points lining up in the same plane.
  2. Lift your legs to a tabletop position. Your shins should be parallel to the ground and knees stacked over hips.
  3. As you exhale, extend the right leg straight out at a diagonal, without leaning into that side. Then come back to tabletop with control.
  4. Repeat on the other side. Continue for 8 breaths.

Bird Dog

Image by mindbodygreen
  1. Get on all fours, and place shins flat on the ground. Release your shoulder blades away from your ears.
  2. Inhale as your reach your right arm and left leg up, stretching away from your body. As you lift, don't arch your back or bring your leg too high. Tuck your pelvis and hug your abdominals in; squeeze your glutes for stability.
  3. Exhale as your return your arm and leg back to the ground.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side. Continue for 8 breaths.

Knee Hover Tap

Image by mindbodygreen
  1. Start on all fours.
  2. Exhale to float your knees a couple of inches off the ground.
  3. Inhale as you slowly lower them to tap on the ground. Engage your core to stabilize the body.
  4. Continue for 8 breaths. 

Bird Dog In Knee Hover

Image by mindbodygreen
  1. Start on all fours. Float your knees a couple of inches off the ground, and hold.
  2. Without shifting your hips, inhale and extend your right arm forward. Exhale as you crunch your abs and pull your elbow toward your torso. Reach it back out, then return it to the ground.
  3. Inhale as you extend your left leg out, squeeze through the glutes. Try not to lift your leg up much higher than your torso. Then exhale to curl your spine and crunch your body inward.
  4. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Continue for 8 breaths.
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