The September Five For Core Strength, Spine Extension, and Mobility

The September Five are here! Can you commit to doing these moves for one minute everyday this month?

These photos are meant to be used as a reminder of the work we have done together. Please use your best judgement when doing these at home and if any of these exercises cause you to be in pain stop, reorganize yourself, and modify your movement as needed.

Want to see these demonstrated in person? Call me to set up a one on one session or join one of Fluid’s weekly ongoing classes. Click the “View class schedule” button to the right to sign up for one of Fluid’s weekly Pilates, yoga, Tai Chi, or Strength and Cardio classes.

1) Mountain Climbers:

 Mountain climbers 8.15 (2)

Start in a plank position. Bring right knee in towards your chest, then step back to plank. Switch sides, bringing left knee in to chest and back to plank. Move as fast as you can, comfortably and without pain for one minute.

2) Side Plank:


side plank Maddie 9.15
From hands and knees (or plank position), neutral spine. Lift your left arm to the ceiling and rotate your shoulders and hips to face the left. Hold for one minute, then switch sides.

3) Camel:

Camel 9.15
Ok my fitness model (above) is demonstrating the most advanced version of this pose. If you are not in your 20’s with a super flexible spine please start kneeling (pad your knees if needed). Stack your shoulders over your hips over your knees. Bring hands to support your low back (as if you were putting them in your back pockets). Reach your chest up to the ceiling as you extend up and back into a small back extension.

4) Corkscrew:

 Kathleen corkscrew 2 9.15

Kathleen corkscrew 9.15

Lying on your back, legs together and extended towards the ceiling. Exhale as you circle legs around in a clockwise direction. Inhale, pause at 12 o’clock. Exhale and circle legs the other direction.

5) Roll Up:


Marnie roll up 2



Marnie roll up 4


Lying on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Exhale as you curl your chin towards your chest and slowly roll up to seated. Inhale here, then exhale as you roll back down.



Anne McCranie is a Portland (Sellwood) Oregon based Personal Trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist. She offers these photos to jog your memory about moves we have done together as a team. Please see your medical professional before beginning a new exercise program.

May Five Exercises 2013 – Core Strength, Back Strength, and Balance

Here are your May Five 2013 Exercises. Try for one minute of each of these every day this month.

May Five Exercises

Anne Side Angle May 2012

1) Side Angle:

  • Start in Warrior II (side lunge) with right knee bent, left leg straight.
  • Rest your right arm on your right thigh, reach left arm to the ceiling.
  • Hold for five breaths.
  • Strengthens legs, stretches hips and shoulders.


Anne plank 5.13

2) Plank:

  • From hands and knees, step back into a plank.
  • Make a straight line through your ear, shoulder, hip and knee (drop to your knees if you need to).
  • Hold for one minute.
  • Strengthens core, shoulders, back and legs.


Flight 2012

3) Flight:

  • Start lying on your tummy with arms by your side. Lift your belly button and slide your shoulder blades down your back.
  • Reach back through your fingers and toes. Lift your chest up into a small back extension.
  • Hold for five breaths.
  • Strengthens back extensors, abdominals, stretches shoulders.


Anne roll over 5.13

Anne roll over 2 5.13

4) Roll Over:

  • On your back with legs in the air.
  • Exhale as you press your legs up towards the ceiling. Inhale and hold here. Exhale as you slowly roll down.
  • Relax your neck and reach through your fingers, keeping arms on the ground.
  • Strengthens lower abdominals, stretches hamstrings.


Anne Seal 2012

Seal 2 2012

5) Seal:

  • Sit up tall. Scoop your abdominals to round your low back. Lift your feet and hold on to your ankles.
  • Slowly roll back onto your upper back, then roll back up to sitting. Now keep rolling and see if you can pause at the top and tap your feet together three times (seal noise is optional).
  • Strengthens abdominals, increases spine flexibility, improves muscle control.


Do guys need to do "core strengthening" exercises?

According to this Wall Street Journal article, by Kevin Helliker yes they do.  Core strength is the new buzzword in exercise circles.  Everyone from elite athletes to weekend warriors are finding their inner strength (pun intended).

To quote Helliker:

After years of conquering the treadmill and bench press, I am now striking poses and performing movements that I had always considered “girly,” and the difficulty of it is humbling.

While he doesn’t specifically use the word Pilates, the three exercises illustrated in the article, glute bridge, pillar bridge and plank, look very similar to Pilates moves I do with my clients.

According to the author: “After three months of two core-training sessions a week, my body-fat percentage is down five points. My cruising speed on the treadmill has risen a full mile per hour, even though my weekly mileage plummeted to make time for the core exercises.”

Want to improve your running time?  Try adding some core strengthening exercises to your program.

Here are three simple and effective core strengtheners.  Shoot for one minute of each of these:

Plank hold:  Make a straight line from your shoulder to your knee.  Pull your belly button in and relax your neck.

Crunches: Rest your hands behind your head and slowly curl head and shoulders off the ground.  This is about half as much effort as a traditional sit up.  Think of flattening your abdominals and breathing.

Pilates Bridge:  Press into your heels to lift your hips towards the ceiling without gripping with your glutes.  Imagine your spine getting longer and your neck relaxing.

Try these moves two to three times a week for the next month and see if you notice a difference in your strength workouts.