The Core.

This morning, as I have for the past couple months, I went down to the gym and knocked out a few push-ups and sit-ups. I have a weak core. Some would call it dainty. I also have a deteriorating back, which is the result of ignoring proper lifting technique when I was a young airman, my anemic core muscles, and a decade spent cultivating spectacular obesity.
 
I know that there are much more effective core exercises out there. Believe me, I'd much rather do them. However, my annual fitness test requires that I do push-ups and sit-ups. After being hauled away in an ambulance last year during my fitness test and finding out that I had a bulged disc in my upper back, I'm trying to avoid taking unnecessary risks. I don't want to hurt myself again. I stopped racing 'cross. I tried (with varying levels of success) to not put on additional weight. I slowly worked on core strength, specifically doing the activities I would be evaluated on. I'm not looking to blow the test out of the water. I'm just looking to avoid another ambulance ride. I think it's a reasonable goal.
 
Once the test is over, I need to do something that will actually have functional value to strengthen my core. Every month Bicycling comes out with a new article about the latest and greatest five minute core-strengthening exercise that will transform anyone from a hybrid-riding, MUP-cruising Fred to Fabian Cancellara overnight. BAM. I gotta get me some of them there core muscles.
 
We'll see. Just making it part of my daily (or even weekly) routine would probably pay huge dividends. Couldn't hurt. Maybe it could. I could be hauled off in an ambulance. Worth a shot, though.
 
Stretching and core work. That's my performance plan this year. Maybe I'll knock a few feet off the mid-section while I'm at it. Anything to extend the service life of the chassis. As for the engine, maybe a vacation to Russia would help.
 
Couldn't hurt.
 
Maybe it could.

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