Fit to the Core

Fit to the core | happyfitmama.com

Core work has been on the “hot list” for the past few years. It’s a big buzz word, everyone wants to strengthen their core. What exactly is your core?

The core area is made up of your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. These muscles are vital in:

  1. Improving your balance and stability
  2. Posture
  3. Makes activities of daily living (ADLs) easier
  4. Improves your athletic and fitness performance

Yoga and Pilates are fantastic forms of exercise to help strengthen the core area. Most exercises that are for the core are built from yoga asanas.

Fit to the Core Workout happyfitmama.comHere’s a list of the best exercises to strengthen your core:

Plank – simple but highly effective. Get into a push up position with arm and legs straight. Lower down to your forearms at a 90 degree angle. Tighten your abs, imagining pulling your belly button to your spine. Hold 30-75 seconds depending on your fitness level.

Side plank – another simple but effective move. Start by laying on your side. Bend arm at a 90 degree angle with forearm on the floor. Tighten abs and lift hips off the floor until only forearm and bottom foot touch the floor. Remember to keep your body in alignment. Hold for 30-75 seconds. Repeat on other side.

Bridge – Lie on your back with knees bent. Back stays in a neutral position. Tighten abs. Raise your hips off the floor until they are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold. Return to starting position. Repeat 15 times.

Super(wo)man – Lie in prone position on your stomach. Extend both arms straight out on the floor palms facing towards each other. Head is neutral with your spine. At the same time, raise both arms and legs a few inches off the ground. Hold for a count of three and release to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.

Bird Dog – Get on the ground on all fours position. Place hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Extend left arm straight out in front of you and right leg behind. Head is in alignment with your spine. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Slowly lower down and repeat on opposite side.

Core work should be done 3-5 days per week for optimal benefits. These five exercises can be done in less than 20 minutes. I like to do them in my living room at the end of the day while I’m catching up on what’s going on in t.v. land. There is no excuse why you can’t fit these simple exercises into your day. Enjoy!

Do you do specific core work?

What’s your favorite core move? Mine is the Bird Dog. I feel every muscle from my baby toes to scalp firing while doing that position.

9 comments on “Fit to the Core

  1. I will be the first to admit that I do not spend nearly enough time on core work!! My favorite is currently the plank. I like challenging myself to see how long I can hold the plank and then working on beating that time.

    1. I try to fit in doing planks at the end of the day. When I’m watching TV, I’ll get down on the floor and try to hold it for a whole commercial break or I’ll do a series of plank to side plank during breaks. My motto is to fit it in whenever!

  2. My favorite core move is probably side plank. I also like the bicycle crunch. I try to do core exercises a few times per week. I just need to be more consistent!

    1. It’s hard to be consistent. I always think of working the other larger muscles before I think of the smaller core area. Consistency does show results, though!

  3. I love planks! I do all of the exercises you listed too, usually 3x a week, more if I can remember to. I like bicycle crunches too, and the plank move where you twist your knee to your opposite arm, is that called a Russian twist? Not sure… anyway, great post- it’s really helpful to remember how many muscles encompass are whole core.

    1. Ohhh! That’s a killer move that really works the obliques well! We’ve been doing those a lot in my Barre class. I gotta remember to do those more on my own!

  4. core it KEY! i agree. You can be an ultra marathoner and have a weak core which can lead to injury. It’s the foundation of a fit body, ya know? Bird dogs, love those!!

  5. I need to do WAY more core work! I did plank yesterday and could only hold it for 30 seconds, blech, I’ve been so slacking and lost my fitness! Thanks for this reminder of some good exercises to do!

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