After having three kids (who are all teens now), I never thought I’d see my abs again. Well, actually, even though I’ve been at a reasonable weight my whole life and a more-or-less competitive runner since my mid-twenties, I’m not sure if I had EVER seen the elusive abdominal muscles. No wonder, my lower back and lower stomach would be the sorest places on my body after racing a marathon – all the strain of having to hold myself upright!
Oh, I’d do some sit-ups here and there, but really only as a rare afterthought to a running workout. It wasn’t until my 40s that I decided I needed to get stronger to keep up pace with younger runners. Core strength was one of the priority areas! Happy to say that after some initial suffering, I got stronger – no longer does my back hurt when I run or carry around heavy stuff.
Now that I’ve got my six-pack (BAM!) it’s just a little bit of maintenance to keep in tip-top shape – I probably work core for no more than 15 minutes, 3 times per week. Anyone can fit that into their schedule! I’m also an advocate of full-body, functional workouts that also strengthen the muscles of a problem “middle.”
So, where to start? I found this basic workout on P&Geveryday™ – 5 Best Moves to Flatten Your Tummy. By the way, I’ve been surfing all over Proctor & Gamble’s online platform, especially the workouts, recipes and product reviews for living well. P&Geveryday™ shares practical ideas, resourceful tips and all-around good advice that that makes it easier to enjoy life – I know my crazy-busy, hectic life can use all the help it can get! You really need to check P&Geveryday™ out along with the P&G Facebook site that shares the same philosophy
Back to their advice on the 5 Best Moves to Flatten Your Tummy.. –you can do these simple exercises at home or at the gym to strengthen your abs and build a foundation for fitness. If you need more challenge, you can always add a weight element of if you are struggling, simple reduce the number of reps in each set. Keep it up though and soon you will be chopping down trees with your newly ripped abs!
I also want to share with you two ab and core exercises I personally swear by. The first is a plank – you can’t beat the all-around core strengthening that a plank provides. Some days I do simple planks, other days I mix it up with variations like this plank on a stability ball – after holding the plan I would roll the ball up with my knees moving toward my face in a plank position. If you are new to planks, start slow and keep good form. Your middle and butt as tight as possible and hold a clean line –start with 15 seconds and week-by-week move up in 15 second intervals.
Another favorite tummy-tightening exercise in my core workout routine is a Floor Sweeper. Lie on your back and hold a moderately weighted bar over your head for stability. Keeping legs straight and together, lift heels off the ground and slowly move your legs like a pendulum, with toes going back and forth to each side of the bar. I do 3 sets of 50 reps, but you may want to start out with 15 or 20 reps.
Do you have a favorite exercise for your abs, back or all-over core? Please share in the comments as I am always looking for new inspiration!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.