10-minute abs for the busy parent
For many parents, finding the time and energy to work out can feel impossible. Luckily, there are plenty of exercises you can do in your own home to strengthen your muscles and get that coveted endorphin rush. Having a stronger core can help you with anything, from lifting heavy diaper bags to sitting up comfortably. With only a little planning, you may be able to squeeze a few ab workouts into your busy day easily.
Here's a 10-minute workout consisting of 10 one-minute exercises. It's a challenging sequence that should only be used as a guide. When just getting back into the swing of things, take breaks as needed. Gradually work up to doing each exercise for 60 seconds, but remember, it won't come easy at first. Try your best to find 10 minutes each day for this workout and you'll be well on your way to strong abs in no time!
- Plank leg lifts
Begin in a high plank position (hands on the ground) and alternate lifting your legs off the ground 4-5 inches at a time. Maintain a flat back by engaging your core and be sure to lower your legs gently back to the ground.
- Side plank right
Lower yourself into a low plank position (elbows and forearms on the ground) and rotate so that your left foot is stacked on your right, left hand is on your left hip, and your right elbow is planted firmly on the ground. Try your best to keep your body in one line, without letting your hips drop toward the ground. Hold for one minute and feel free to take breaks. Eventually you will be able to hold this position for a full 60 seconds, even though it may not seem that way the first time you try it!
- Side plank left
Repeat on the left side. (Note: it is common to feel stronger on one side than the other. It is recommended that you plank on your weaker side first).
- Toe touches
Lay on your back with your legs extended toward the ceiling. Try your best to keep your body at a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms toward the ceiling and raise your body up as if reaching for your toes.
Begin in a sit-up position and alternate touching your right elbow to your left knee and touching your left elbow to your right knee. You should be bringing your knees to meet your elbows, not sitting all the way up. For extra burn, keep your legs off the ground while bicycling. Start slowly and gradually increase the speed as you become stronger.
- Lying leg raise
Lie on your back and place your hands (palms down) under your glutes to provide support for your lower back. Keeping your legs straight, slowly raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor. Hold for a second and slowly lower your legs to the starting position.
- Right elbow to knee crunch
Return to your back and cross your left leg over your right so that your left ankle is resting on your right knee. With your right hand, gently behind your head, crunch and twist so that your right elbow touches your left knee. Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Left elbow to knee crunch
Switch sides so that your right ankle is resting on your left knee. Crunch and twist so that your left elbow touches your right knee.
- Basic crunch
Just a good, old-fashioned crunch! Sit up only until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Think of moving your body up, not forward. Keeping your eyes on the ceiling will help you maintain proper form.
- Basic plank
Return to the plank position. If you want to finish this sequence with extra burn, low plank (forearms on the ground) is an option. Hold this position, taking care to keep your back straight.
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