3 easy core exercises you can do while playing

If you’re anything like me and have kids, you spend a fair bit of time on the floor.

Sometimes half asleep, sometimes not.

Sometimes resting your numb legs, sometimes not.

Sometimes playing a game of ‘how many times will mumma let me jump on her head and eat her hair before the steam comes out her ears’, sometimes not.

Sometimes singing the freakin Winnie the Pooh song for the 500th time or watching playschool because it ‘CAN’T’ be watched alone.

During the ‘sometimes not’, I sometimes do 6 basic exercises – 3 strength and 3 stretches. I tell you what, it makes me feel good at the end of the day when I flop into bed because I know I’ve done something good for my body. And I might as well do something for me while I’m pinned to the floor olympic-wrestling style.

I’ll tell you about the stretches in another post but right now I want to show you the strength ones.

clam

This one is especially good for people who have hip pain or pain at the site of their sacroiliac joints (also known as SIJ). Or if they feel like their hip muscles tire easily. It helps your small hip muscles support your hip bones and when you think about it, everything balances on top of your hips, so they are pretty important!

It’s a really good one for mums because the ligaments around our hips relax during pregnancy and labour, and sometimes become weak. Activities like one sided toddler holding, lots of bending and lifting, sitting on the floor a lot possibly with poor posture, don’t help the cause either.

Here it is in video.

From physioexerciselibrary.com

Key points :

  • keep your heels together and in line with your tailbone. Take a peek before you start to make sure they are in line;
  • preferably have your head resting on your bottom arm;
  • pull you belly button in towards your spine and hold it there the whole time (don’t hold your breath though);
  • don’t let you hip roll forward or back, likewise don’t let your shoulder fall in or back; and
  • go slow – these are meant to be done slow.

You know you are doing them right if you put you hand on your top buttock and you can feel a deep muscle moving gently – not the big old gluts we all know about.

Start with, maybe, 5 each side at first and build up to more. Then maybe you could do 3 sets of 5 the following week. Then 3 sets of ten the week after. Deal? Cool.

the plank

The plank is so easy . . . says she, sitting on my butt in my comfy desk chair eating ice cream.

But it really is. It’s only hard if you don’t set yourself a goal and you don’t know your options.

And it is SO good for you. It works the muscles of the back and stomach including one big muscle that wraps the whole way around and supports your spine and posture.

Here’s a good article on how to do the plank from the Daily Mail.

Set yourself a goal of 30 seconds holding it at first. Your option is to simply lower your knees to the floor, so have a towel under your knees ready but don’t cave too soon!

Key points:

  • as you lift up, draw your belly button to your spine, this is where you get your strength (not your arms or your legs) and this is what will help you stay up longer;
  • make sure your elbows are under your shoulders and hands are clasped;
  • keep your buttocks flat – don’t let your hips drop or pop up like you are trying some sort of new pyramid pose;
  • look at your hands, don’t lift your head up or drop it down
  • technique, technique, technique is most important. Hold this for as long as you can and once you surpass your 30 seconds goal, set yourself another one!

four point

This is my favourite, only because it’s the one where I truly notice it gets easier each time so I know I’m getting stronger.

Here it is on video.

I take it a bit slower than her while I am taking my arm and knee from being on the floor to being in the air. And I also move my arm and leg at the same time.  It trains your core muscles to endure more and challenges your balance. I like her idea of holding it up though.

Key points:

  • to set up, knees below hips, wrists below shoulders, crown of your head pointing straight ahead;
  • as you lift up, draw your belly button to your spine; and
  • opposite arm with opposite leg and no need to take them any higher than your butt, you should form one straight line from finger tips to toes.

And that’s my top 3 easy peasy core and back exercises for mums who ‘have to come and watch sesame street right NOW’. Who knows, your little fiend might even join in!

That’s 15 minutes tops. If that. So easy right?

Most important thing . . . don’t be too tough on yourself if your get interrupted, something is always better than nothing.

What do you think? Do-able?

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