How to... strengthen your core

Ease post-sea­son stiff­ness and strengthen your core for the new sea­son with this ses­sion from pi­lates in­struc­tor Bene­dict Sul­li­van

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS -

The 100

Run­ning on rock-hard pitches of­ten leaves your back in tat­ters, but you can rem­edy this us­ing one sim­ple move. “Keep your lower back flat on the mat and pull your belly in,” ex­plains Sul­li­van. “Lift up your legs and hold that po­si­tion. Breathe in for a count of five and breathe out for a count of five. Do it 10 times.”

Dou­ble leg low­ers

A strong core will al­low you to dart away from an op­po­nent at speed and swivel your hips like Lionel Messi. “Lower both legs down, while keep­ing your back flat. A lot of peo­ple arch their back be­cause they’re not strong enough in this area. Don’t be one of them.”

Dou­ble leg stretch

Hav­ing the strength to main­tain a fixed po­si­tion while mov­ing at pace helps you to brush past the op­po­si­tion. You can im­prove that power by do­ing this ex­er­cise. “Point your arms and legs to­wards the ceil­ing, then lower your arms down and around un­til they’re at your sides. That’s one rep – do 10-12.”

Sin­gle leg stretch

If you want your body to func­tion in per­fect har­mony while you’re run­ning around the pitch, you need to build a strong core. “Put both hands be­hind your head and en­gage your abs. Ex­tend one leg, then do the same on the other side. Mov­ing one side while the other is sta­tion­ary will test your core.”

Sin­gle straight leg stretch

Tight hip flex­ors and sore ham­strings are com­mon prob­lems among foot­ballers af­ter a hard 90 min­utes, but this lower-body move will quickly loosen you up. “Hold your left leg at a 90-de­gree an­gle point­ing to­wards the ceil­ing, then slowly lower the right. Swap legs and re­peat.”

To dis­cover more work­outs like this, fol­low Bene­dict on In­sta­gram @theau­then­ticpi­lates

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