O! M! C! Oh My Core!

I’ve been lifting weights and super passionate about fitness for almost 12 years now. Over that course of time, I have learned SO MUCH about what needs to happen in create a healthy body. Now, I’m not talking about the crazy sexy lean hot body, ok? I’m talking about a body that moves well, has stability and balance, strong joints and so on! Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about looking good and wanting to feel awesome in my clothes (and out of my clothes, obviously). Although at the end of the day, if your body is not “functioning” the way it should in order to continue being  healthy and fit as you get older….You need to ask yourself….What are you really chasing with your own fitness program? Maybe that’s another topic…

With that being said, let’s talk about the fantastic nine month journey my CORE embarked upon during pregnancy. It sucked! As my little one grew in my belly, the strain on my lower back intensified. While I didn’t feel it at the time, my body went into shock as soon as I delivered and the weight dramatically decreased in my mid-section. Having babies is hard!

Alright, let’s be real…I’m not just talking about having babies. If you have a heavier load on your body in general, you are going to lower back issues. Without a strong core, especially in your abdominals your spine cannot maintain it’s own stability. Think of Indiana Jones crossing that rickety old bridge over a that river filled with flesh devouring crocodiles. That’s a pretty bad scenario, right? YOUR SPINE…Is that bridge when it’s not trained efficiently and often. Are you really going to send your perfect little Fitness Fairies across that bridge (for the sake of argument, they don’t have wings for this analogy)? NO! No you aren’t!

So what are you going to do? I’m so glad you asked! You are going to send out your awesome Fabio workers (or an army of Ryan Reynolds, whatever) to fix that bridge so it’s solid, stable and made of steel! Only then, would you feel comfortable enough to send your perfect Fitness Fairies to frolic across the bridge without a care in the world.

So let me bring it back full circle. It’s the first week of my Post Baby Body Challenge and I’m at the gym hitting shoulders, core and cardio. I get through shoulders on a complete high that I’m able to work HARD at the gym again. When my sets are complete and it’s time to hit my core, I have to admit I’m a little nervous. I know my core has weakened and will be my biggest challenge throughout the next 8 weeks.  My lower back has been bothering me and I can FEEL the difference in my strength and stability throughout my abdominals and back muscles. I’m done with shoulders and it’s time to hit a plank and I’m hating it! I have three sets of planks to do and the shortest is 30 seconds. It was HARD! Typically, I can hold planks for days! Today? WHOA! Eye opening moment for me. I have to make my core a focus. I get through the planks taking mental notes of how it feels and feeling the determination building within me to get that strength back as soon as possible.

So of course, I came up with a plan of action! Every day, I’m going to focus on my core for at least five minutes. Hitting this routine daily will strengthen my core and remind those muscles how to work, without complete exhaustion.

Did you know that your core is not just your abs? This is crazy important to know! For a full explanation on this topic, check out Amy’s post here!

AT HOME CORE BLASTER

Equipment Needed:Yoga Ball! This one is my favorite because it’s so much tougher than a normal stability ball. ANTI-BURST baby! Everyone needs a yoga ball at home! If you can add this short 5 minute routine to our day, you will LOVE your core and feel amazing!

  • Yoga Ball Slow Crunch: 10 reps

Lying on your yoga ball with the center of your back in the middle of the ball, reach arms above your head or support your neck with your thumbs and fingers interlaced. Maintaining space between your chin and your chest, elevate your upper body to the ceiling with in exhale. Inhale and slowly lower back to resting position on the ball. Repeat.

  • Yoga Ball Plank: 30-60 seconds

Standard plank position except with elbows on the ball. Be sure to keep your chest off the ball and maintain one line from head to heels. Squeeze your glutes and quads to support your body. Feeling frisky? Make circles with your elbow on the ball one direction, then the other direction. This movement makes your core work even harder.

  • Yoga Ball Glute Bridges: 10 reps

Sit on the stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Walk your feet forward and roll your back onto the ball so your shoulders and upper back are supported by the ball Squeeze and lift your glutes off the floor. Your shoulders and back should still be resting on the ball while you hold for two seconds with hips as high as you can get them. Drop your hips to the floor, then squeeze and lift your glutes again.

  • Yoga Ball Plank Knee Tucks: 10 reps

In high plank position with tops of feet on the yoga ball and hands flat on the floor. Squeeze your core and elevate your glutes slightly as you bring your knees towards your chest. Stop knees at a 90 degree angle and pause for 2 seconds. Then return to plank position and repeat.

Complete THREE ROUNDS of CORE work

Viola! Add this to your morning routine and you’ll build strength incredibly quickly. Your body will have less aches and pains and your back with thank you for it!

Want a SHOULDER WORKOUT? Here it is!

3 Straight Sets with 12-15 reps of each…

  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises
  • Dumbbell Front Raises
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Flys

Super Set with 12-15 reps of each…

  • Shoulder Press
  • Cable Reverse Fly

Complete Core Work as listed above! 3 Sets

Finish with Cardio Intervals for 20 minutes…

  • 2 minute warm up
  • 2 minutes vigorous effort
  • 1 minute medium effort

Repeat until minute 20:00

  • Cool Down for 2 minutes

Done! Phew!

If you aren’t sure what the difference is from Super Sets to Straight Sets, check this out! Until next time! Add this to your own 8 Week Challenge and let’s get after it!

Honestly,

Kelsey

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