I’m a mom of three, which means one of my main concerns is to tighten my mummy tummy. I’m aware that it’s impossible to spot reduce, but core exercises are a huge part of my routine because developing core strength carries plenty of everyday benefits. And they also help tighten the mommy tummy. So, in this post I’m going to share my favorite moves to tone the abs and core.
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The Problem With The Abs And Core
Abs and core exercises have always been a part of my workouts because developing strength in that area is a major concern of mine.
You see, I’ve had three children, and carrying them did a number on my body, specially my abs and core.
After every birth, I found myself feeling weak, with a flabby belly and frequent backaches, and unable to move with the same agility and flexibility as before. Does that sound familiar?
In fact, you don’t need to get pregnant to lose abs and core strength. You just need to spend enough time not doing any exercise, and you’ll have the same problems I just mentioned.
If your abs and my core have lost their strength, that’s a huge problem. Having a weak core means you’ll have poor posture, lack of balance and stability, chronic backaches and a hopelessly flabby tummy.
Benefits Of Core Strength
The best way to lose belly fat is by having a healthy diet, but reducing fat shouldn’t be your only goal. Don’t forget that a strong body brings you many more rewards and benefits than simply having a skinny body.
This includes the core. With a strong core, you can say goodbye to all those backaches. With a strong core, you can gain more lean muscle and increase bone density. With a strong core, you can bend over to pick up toys, crouch under the sink, climb a ladder, do chores, play tag, chase your toddler, pick him up, and do almost anything you want without the risk of pain or injury.
And you’ll also help your tummy get flatter. It’s a win-win!
Are you ready to start working the core?
My Favorite Abs & Core Exercises
There are many exercises that work your abs and core, but this is my personal top five list.
This is my all-time favorite core exercise. Ever since I discovered planks, I have been doing them almost everyday. Planks can be a little tricky to do, but if you get them right, they’ll strengthen your core better than any other move I know.
I’ve found that a plank works best when you do it for short intervals, not for a long time all at once. For instance, it’s better to do several 30-second planks with 10-second rests than a whole minute of holding a plank.
Once you get a plank right, don’t forget to do variations- side planks, plank with one leg up, plank jacks, one-arm planks, pike planks, and the list goes on!
2. Mountain Climbers
This move is awesome because it’s a strenght move and a cardio move rolled into one. Plus, you don’t need any equipment to do it!
Remember to keep your head up and don’t lift up your butt or let your back hang down.
After you get stronger, you can do cross-body mountain climbers, elevated mountain climbers, mountain climbers on a stability or medicine ball. The sky’s the limit!
When I was younger, I couldn’t do a full sit-up. I would try to lift up my torso until I was blue in the face and I just couldn’t do it. I had no core strength!
Doing full sit-ups (lifting your torso and touching your chest to your knees) is a great exercise. Forget about crunches! You can do a million crunches and not gain an ounce of strength, but full sit-ups are something else.
After my last pregnancy, I spent a considerable amount of time strengthening my abs and core, and now I can do full sit-ups and all sorts of variations that involve lifting up my middle section- crossfit sit-ups, russian twists, v-ups or jackknives, bicycle crunches, roll-ups, hundreds, whatever.
The way I see it, if you can’t lift yourself off the floor, you have a problem. So let’s work that core!
As much as you focus on your abs, you won’t get really strong until you also work your back. Because your back is also part of your core, remember? I completely ignored working my back, and my poor posture and backaches continued until I did something about it.
There are several moves you can do to strengthen your back, like good-mornings, bird-dogs, bridges, and deadlifts, but my favorite is the superman (or superwoman!). I don’t know why, but I love to pretend I’m flying!
Like the plank, this move works better for me when I do it in a series of short intervals with rests rather than holding it for an insanely long time.
This move works wonders for your back! It can be hard to hold the position at first, but you have to try it. It’s an amazing feeling!
Personally, I think burpees are the best move ever invented. Or the worst. I have a love-hate relationship with them.
Burpees are a whole-body exercise, but they really work the abs and core! This is one of my favorite moves because it’s so intense that even if I only do a 4-minute burpee interval workout, that’s all the exercise I need for the day. Plus, burpees melt body fat. What more could you ask for?
I started doing beginner burpees and worked my way up from there.
What I love is that there are endless variations because you can incorporate almost any other move into it- burpees with or without a push-up, burpees with plank jacks, burpees with mountain climbers, burpees with box jumps, burpees with side jumps, burpees with renegade rows, and list goes on.
Work The Abs & Core
Let’s get it on with this workout that includes all five of these moves!
I have tried to include all these moves into most of my workouts, and let me tell you it has paid off!
The strength in my core allows me to get through the day without a backache, and my posture has improved, and I feel stronger than ever.
I can also pick up my 3-year-old with one arm and a heavy bag with the other, without a problem. I can play tag with my kids, chase them, or get them out of odd places where I have to climb up or crouch down and crawl. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean!
Having a strong core is a major benefit to my everyday life.
Most happily, I’ve also managed to considerably flatten my mommy tummy.
Are we working those abs and core yet?