If you're a mom, like myself, you're CONSTANTLY on the go. Driving kids to practices, bending down to pick up toys, lifting you're children, lugging around that big car seat...you name it!
Back in the day...it all may have seemed like a breeze physically, but honestly... are our tummies quite the same after carrying a child for 9 months? The answer is...probably not.
BUT, I come bearing good news...strengthening your core again back to 'pre-mom' strength IS POSSIBLE! Whether you had children less than a year ago, or 50 years ago.
What exactly IS your core?
When most people think about core strength, they picture six-pack abs and doing millions of sit-ups. But your core is made up of more than just abs and having core strength is more than having a toned stomach or looking good. The core is exactly that - the core of your body. It is made up of more than just your abdominal muscles and includes: obliques, pelvic floor muscles, glutes and all the muscles in your back.
We are using our core during daily tasks, without even thinking noticing it: sitting up straight, bending, twisting, carrying, hammering, reaching overhead - even vacuuming, mopping and dusting are movements that spring from, or pass through....THE CORE!
And as moms (or even just as busy adults) we are using these muscles nearly all day, every day
Whats so important about having a strong core?
Think of your core as a central link chain that connects your lower and upper body. Whether you're in the gym for a workout, or mopping your floor the necessary motions originate from your core or at least move through it.
No matter where your motion starts, it ripples upward and downward to adjoining links of the chain. Thus, weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function. Which is less than ideal.
A strong core is vital for balance and stability and having strong core muscles will help prevent falls and injuries.
What exercises can I do to strengthen my core?
Now that we have established why your mom muscles are important, it's time to learn how we can strengthen them day by day.
While sit ups are great for building abdominal strength, they don't effectively work every muscle in your core. The good news about core exercises is that you don't need fancy equipment to do them, you can complete many great strengthening exercises at home or in the gym using little to no equipment!
This modified sit up works your entire form. Lie face down with your arms and legs outstretched. Keeping your legs and arms straight. lift your body into a v shape, reaching your fingers as close to your toes as you can.
*You can modify these by reaching one arm and one leg, opposite of each other and reaching for your toe, supporting your body on your opposite arm. Complete 3 sets of 10-12
2. Russian Twists
Sit up with your knees bent and your feel flat on the floor in front of you. Lean back to a 45 degree angle, keeping your back straight. Using your muscles, slowly twist to each side as far as you can. For an added challenge, add a weight in your hands as you twist. Complete for 3 sets of 10-20
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms and legs outreached, palms toward the ground and toes pointed. Lift your arms, legs and chest off the floor simultaneously - then slowly return to the ground. Look at a spot on the floor in front of you so you don't strain your neck. Complete 3 sets of 10-20
On the floor, place your hands on the ground under your shoulders as if you are going to do push ups. Pull your stomach in and engage your muscles, keeping your body in a straight line (be sure your hips don't drop below your tummy!!) Hold as long as possible.
5. Lying Hip Abduction
Lie down on your side with your feet stacked together on the ground. Lift your leg up without bending at all, keeping your foot flexed and foot parallel to the ground, raise as high as possible, hold briefly then lower controlled back down to the ground. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.
Looking for something a little extra?? I have GREAT 4-Week Core Program that comes with daily workouts and a realistic kid friendly carb cycling meal plan!
Lucky for you - this program is 50% off until January 31st!!
(Can be done from the gym OR home using dumbbells, a stability ball and resistance bands)