McGill Curl Up – Core Exercise / Crunch & Sit Up Alternative.

The McGill Curl Up is a Great execise to work the abdominals without recruitng your hip flexors or injuring your lower back like crunches and sit-ups.

If you want to find out why you should avoid doing crunches and situps then download the FREE report on here.

To perform the McGill Curl up, lie on your back with one leg straight and one leg bent. Place one forearm under the small of your back to help maintain the curve in your lower back (if you find this painful or uncomfortable then remove your arm and place a small rolled up towel instead).

Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and avoid poking you chin out. Brace your abs and raise your shoulder blades off the floor about 4 inches. Hold in this position for 2-4 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat for between 12-20 repetitions.

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Side Plank

The Side Plank

To perform the side plank lie down on your side propped up on your forearm. Brace your abs and raise yourself up so that your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and head are all in a straight line.

Make sure your spine is straight and not sagging towards the floor. Squeeze your glutes, quads and abs as tight as possible. Breath nice and deeply.

Hold this position for a maximum of 10 seconds squeezing as strongly as possible. Then relax and repeat for a total of 3 repetitions.

The key is to squeeze all the above mentioned muscles as tight as possible while still breathing maximally for 10 seconds – not to just hold the position as long as possible.

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Planks Are Awesome!


Spinal Stability is Key, if the core isn’t strong enough to do the job then other muscles jump in to help provide the stability it needs. This typically means the hips, mid back and hamstrings become tense and overactive leading to muscular imbalances, changes in spinal and pelvic alignment and the likelihood of pain and discomfort.


Planks and their variations are great exercises that I give many of my clients in order to build spinal stability and core strength. The reason, they provide a huge benefit in such a short time.


The problem is – too many people end up doing them wrong so don’t get the benefits.

Furthermore, many people try and hold a plank for far too long… which ends up causing people to do planks wrong.

Plank 2

3 Common Mistakes:

  1. Your Neck is below the chest, meaning all the stabilisation is coming from the shoulders and neck.
  2. The pelvis is in an anterior tilt and your butt is above the above the line from your shoulders to your knees. This means your hip flexors and lower back are doing all the work in a shortened position, not helping your posture, lower back pain and it;s not very challenging.
  3. Hard rounding of the upper back (thoracic spine). This means your shoulders are doing all the work with some work being done by the abdominals in a shortened position.

When doing a plank, try and get yourself as straight as possible, from your head, shoulders, hips and knees.

I filmed a quick video to demonstrate a decent plank ?


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