A strong core is an absolute must for anyone, but for parents it should be the number one priority of a fitness routine. So many parents end up getting out of shape due to lack of time to workout and then typically we end up with some sort of sore back after toting around and playing with our kids day after day. How can this easily be avoided? By strengthening that core so you have a solid foundation of muscles protecting that vulnerable section of the spine!
Along with injury prevention, a strong core helps with everything you do. Lifting becomes easier (which is useful since those kids keep getting bigger), coordination is increased, and it increases athletic performance. What is not to like about a stronger core?
You should aim for doing this workout twice per week. Exercises should be done slowly with a focus on feeling the muscles contracting. Make sure to match your breathing to the exercise where you will exhale as you contract, which allows for a tighter contraction of the muscles. Ideally you will have a Swiss ball to workout with. Work this routine as a circuit doing all of the exercises in a row and then repeating the sequence one to two more times. Reps should be done in the 20 to 30 range (or beyond if you can).
Swiss ball sit-ups – Lie back on a Swiss ball with the ball in the center of your lower back and your feet flat on the ground. Keep your trunk tight so your body is relatively flat and then slowly perform a sit-up motion, holding a crunch at the top before slowly lowering yourself back down.
Swiss ball pull-in – Assume a push-up position with your arms locked out straight and a Swiss ball under your shins. Roll the ball towards your stomach by crunching your knees towards your abdomen before pushing the ball back towards the starting position.
High toe touches – Stand with your hands out to your sides while your feet are together. Kick your left leg upward, trying to get your foot at least waist high. At the same time reach your right hand around to touch the top of your toes. Repeat with your right leg.
Low toe touches – Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and arms extended out towards the side. Keep your neck straight and back flat. Bend at the waist and twist to touch your left hand to your right toe. Straighten back up and then repeat with your right hand to your left toe.
Side Planks – Lie flat on your side. Raise your upper body off the ground by resting on your forearm with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Your body should be completely flat like a board with weight resting on your heels and elbow. Hold this position for a count of 20 to 30 seconds (or longer). Then switch sides and repeat.
This workout covers all aspects of your trunk. Take your time to go slowly and learn to feel each muscle as you work it for more effective results.