How to strengthen core when it's so weak? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My core is horribly weak. I can't do sit up/crunches much because laying on the floor hurts my back. I've tried an excercise ball for crunches & that is ok. I can't even do leg lift & lower type excercises. There has to be a way to work up to these things. I do try to be mindful of standing tall & keeping my stomach muscles pulled in through out the day, but I guess it just isn't enough.

Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#2 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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Planks

Truly the only core exercise you need!

Imagine being in a push up position except you are resting on your elbows. Hold that position for as long as you can, time it.

If you make it 10 seconds then hold for 12 seconds tomorrow, 15 seconds the next day. Try to increase your time every time you do it. Once you hit a minute you can add harder variations. Once you hit two minutes you will have a core of steal! LOL

Floor situp and crunches are ineffective and dangerous.

The plank my not seem very glamorous but it is effective. It also targets the entire core at once which is WAAYY more than just abs.

Pair that with some Glute bridges and you will strengthen your core and glutes in one 2 minutes a day workout. (Wow I sound like an infomercial! LOL)
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#3 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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Will doing planks burn abdominal fat/build muscle? My waist to hip ratio needs serious improvement (plus I'd like to improve how I look) and I find that it hurts my neck too much to do sit-ups (I think I have serious trouble with form).
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#4 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 07:40 PM
 
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Will doing planks burn abdominal fat/build muscle? My waist to hip ratio needs serious improvement (plus I'd like to improve how I look) and I find that it hurts my neck too much to do sit-ups (I think I have serious trouble with form).
Fat burning is a product of diet.

But strengthening your core will have impacts on all other areas of your body.

I prefer to think of core strengthening as a choice for health, like taking a vitamin. I do it because it makes me healthier not because of what it can do for my figure. Although improved posture does wonders for how you look.

To burn fat focus on your diet. You need to be operating in a deficit. Eat fewer calories than your body requires to maintain it's weight (RMR + calories burned through activity) It really isn't quite that simple but that is a good place to start!
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#5 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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I don't think I can work on a calorie deficit as I am currently nursing.

What does core "strengthening" mean?

Thank you for answering my questions.
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#6 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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I would suggest yoga or belly dancing.
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#7 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SaraFR View Post
I don't think I can work on a calorie deficit as I am currently nursing.
.
How old is your baby? I started WW when DD was 9 months old. They give you extra points for nursing. Never had a compromised milk supply.
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#8 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 10:55 PM
 
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How old is your baby? I started WW when DD was 9 months old. They give you extra points for nursing. Never had a compromised milk supply.
He's just about 10 months but barely touches solids. WW is a good idea but I tried it before and it wasn't the best for me. Glycemic index worked better, I think.

I am concerned about my abdomen not just because of my waistline but because I know how dangerous excessive fat there can be.

I'm sorry for hijacking the thread but I really do appreciate all the responses. I have the extra "fun" of having medical issues with my metabolism.
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#9 of 12 Old 07-31-2008, 11:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SaraFR View Post
I don't think I can work on a calorie deficit as I am currently nursing.

What does core "strengthening" mean?

Thank you for answering my questions.
I really can't help you with the nursing thing. Sorry. I have read that the body does maintain a high body fat % during nursing as a safety net.

Your core is everything from your hips to your arm pits. It provides stability and balance for all activities, even those things that don't seem directly related. It is basically the support for your whole body. A strong core helps maintain alignment in all other parts of the body.

Also, strength has as much to do with developing neurological adaptation as muscular adaptations.

Don't know if that answers the question or not. It's getting late maybe I should read this again in the morning! LOL
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#10 of 12 Old 08-03-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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As someone currently preoccupied with my out of shape pp w/ #3 core, I feel compelled to contribute.

There are many muscles involved in the core, sort of layered on each other and working together, as F said. You want to build up from the base layers because if you challenge the core with exercise that its not strong enough for, you can make is bulge more! The plank is a great exercise to engage all of the muscles in the core, but again, if the base is not there, you could be making it push out instead of pulling it in.

The most inside layer of muscles is called the transverse. It wraps around your middle like a girdle. Once this is pulled in tight, you can add muscle on other layers (obliques, abdominus recti, hip flexors...) with plank, crunches, etc. A "six pack" is the outer most layer of muscles, but has little to do with having a flat stomach (strong yes, flat no).

To strengthen the transverse/inside muscle you want to pull it in. There are a couple of exercises to do for this;

Imagine that between your belly button and back is an elevator; floor one is totally relaxed, floor six is pulling your belly button into your spine as hard as you can. Pull bb (belly button) in to floor 3-ish and contract to floor 5 100x. Do this 3-5x/day. Oh yeah, do these sitting, and make sure your posture is correct first. You should feel the muscles in your back engage when you do these. If you drive a lot, thats a good time...

Another one you could do is to suck your bb in to floor 6+ and hold for a count of 30 then pulse it in harder 10x. Relax. Do this 10x/day. I used to do these when I drove dd to and from school.


As for losing belly fat - you cant do spot exercises for this. yes diet will make a big difference, but so will aerobic exercise and strength training. meaning, running or swimming will burn belly fat, as will strength training your arms and legs, as all of these burn fat for fuel from your body

Good luck to us all

mom to  dd1 (11) hearts.gif,  ds (9)bikenew.gif,  dd2 (6) dust.gif  , Daisy (4) dog2.gif
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#11 of 12 Old 08-03-2008, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkletruck View Post
The most inside layer of muscles is called the transverse. It wraps around your middle like a girdle. Once this is pulled in tight, you can add muscle on other layers (obliques, abdominus recti, hip flexors...) with plank, crunches, etc. A "six pack" is the outer most layer of muscles, but has little to do with having a flat stomach (strong yes, flat no).

To strengthen the transverse/inside muscle you want to pull it in. There are a couple of exercises to do for this;

Imagine that between your belly button and back is an elevator; floor one is totally relaxed, floor six is pulling your belly button into your spine as hard as you can. Pull bb (belly button) in to floor 3-ish and contract to floor 5 100x. Do this 3-5x/day. Oh yeah, do these sitting, and make sure your posture is correct first. You should feel the muscles in your back engage when you do these. If you drive a lot, thats a good time...

Another one you could do is to suck your bb in to floor 6+ and hold for a count of 30 then pulse it in harder 10x. Relax. Do this 10x/day. I used to do these when I drove dd to and from school.
Good information! Thank you! I guess I just need to work on this exercise though. I try to do it, but my mind thinks elevator & muscles = kegels I'll get there!

Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#12 of 12 Old 08-03-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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My core is weak again after the birth, but I'm slowly getting back into my exercises. I have a borderline disc in my back, so crunches are a no-go. My chiropractor has me sit on a ball and do pelvic tilts, then hip-lifts (same concept as the tilt, but I pick up either hip) and then circles which blend both movements.
Right now they are still small, but before the birth I could move my hips like Shakira.
Sitting on a ball instead of a chair is also good for the core, as long as you keep the posture good.

Mom to two intact boys, born at home. DS1 11/07, DS2 9/10
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