Core Strength Exercises to Help Lose the Baby Weight
Having a strong midsection (abs, back, and sides) tones and firms up your middle, which you are probably eager to do since having a baby. A strong core has the extra benefit of helping make your other exercises more efficient and effective too!
“Classic crunch” may sound like a sugary cereal or salty snack, but this exercise has the opposite effect on your body. Tone your middle by lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head—don’t interlock your fingers or the urge to use your arms to lift your head will be hard to resist. Keep elbows out to the side (not forward in front of your face) and raise your upper back and shoulders off the ground. Keep your head still and your chin off your chest. Lower your shoulders/back to make one rep. Think about keeping your lower back pressed to the floor as you work through your set.
Double Knee Tuck—the Position
Lie down on your back. On a firm surface; no falling asleep! Bring both knees toward your chest and hold your shins with your hands. This should bring your upper back, neck, and head off the ground. (If you’re super flexible and can easily bring your knees all the way to your chest, work on stopping part way so that you do bring your shoulders up off the ground.) Part two of the move is … (see next slide).
Double Knee Tuck—the Move
Extend your arms above your head and your legs out straight. Don’t let either extremity (or your head) touch the ground. When you return to the tuck position, that counts as one rep.
Reverse Crunch—the Position
Start as you would for a regular crunch, but aim your feet up toward the sky instead of having them on the ground, and put your hands on the floor along your sides. The motion here is a small one, ready? (See next slide.)
Reverse Crunch—the Move
Keeping your arms and upper body still, push your feet up further toward the sky. This is a small, but significant motion, which uses your hard-to-access lower abdominal muscles. Be careful not to swing your legs or use them for momentum. Push up with your hips and a bit of a Kegel!
This beautifully simple exercise is another that can be done almost anywhere. It is a core part of your core strength workout! It is deceptively challenging: How can staying still make you sweat? It can. Here’s how you do it. Start on all fours. Put your elbows where your hands were so you’re on knees and elbows. Then raise your butt and straighten your legs, so you are supported only on your toes (feet fairly close together) and your forearms. Your body should be straight as a plank of wood from your heels to your head. It’s great if you can do this by a mirror and see that your back and behind are in alignment. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your middle to get straight. Hold this good position for 30 seconds, or work up to (and then beyond!) that. You will find you start to quiver when it gets hard. Don’t give up right away—you can do more than you might first believe.
Start by lying on your back, arms to your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, about 6 to 12 inches from your butt. Raise your butt off the ground about 6 inches. Having your shins perpendicular to the floor, as in this image, is ideal. Your arms can help you balance, but try to stay steady by tightening your middle and your glutes. Hold for 30 seconds, or work your way up to that. When you’re ready for more… (see next slide).
Start by doing bridge 1. Then engage your abs and glutes more. This should raise your hips and make your body a straight line from shoulders to knees. Again, arms to the sides will help you balance. The bridge is a great exercise because you can change the difficulty. To make it even more challenging… (see next slide).
Get ready for this bridge just as you did the previous ones. But now put your hands behind your neck instead of by your sides. This reduces the arms’ role as a balance helper. You are balancing on your upper back and feet only, which requires (and develops) greater core strength. Again, hold this position for 30 seconds, or work your way up to that.
Side Bridge 1
Your core includes front, back, and sides! Lie on your right side, hips straight but knees bent. Raise up on your right forearm with your elbow directly under you shoulder. Keep your knees on the ground, but straighten your hips so that your body makes a straight line from knees to shoulders. Put your left arm along your side or left hand on left hip, as Deborah is doing here. Hold for 30 seconds or work up to that. For each side bridge on the right, turn over and do it on the left too! When these become pretty comfortable, it’s time to move on (see next slide).
Side Bridge 2
This is essentially the same as the first side bridge, only start with straight legs; your supports are now your right forearm and your feet (left on top of right). The elbow is still under the shoulder, and the straight line is from your feet to your shoulders.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN