Thursday, April 25, 2013

Playground Abs

On this beautiful sunshiny, 63 degree, Colorado spring day I took the kids out to the park for a picnic lunch.  While we sat at the picnic table eating our little lunches I started thinking about doing a workout while the kids played.  There was no one around to watch so it was the perfect opportunity to try some things out.  My focus today?  Abs.

First let me say that I am not one of those perfectly ripped people with abs that can be displayed in a two piece swim suit, or a sports bra active wear top with matching yoga pants, though I do dream of the day.   I, like many women, would LOVE to have a core like that.  It could happen.  Maybe.  Well at least I can say I tried!  After two kids and a 70 pound weight loss, my mid section is a bit - shall we say fleshy, er, I mean "flabby."  So I will push forward to continue to bring my total body fat percentage down (which by the way is the best and most effective way to have VISIBLE abs) and strengthen my core muscles while I'm at it.

But there are more benefits to a strong core than just aesthetics.  Having a strong core can help you with everyday tasks, improve your balance, and even help alleviate lower back pain.  So if you have kids or grand kids, head to the park and "play" around!  And if you don't, find your inner child and try something different!

The Bucket Twist
 At my neighborhood park there is this little bucket looking thing that kids can sit in and spin around real fast in.  My boys LOVE to be pushed in it until they can't walk straight afterwards.  I have a different purpose for it.  Sit in the bucket and use your core muscles to move you from side to side.  The challenge is that the seat is designed to easily spin.  Try not to let it spin you around.  Use your core to keep you moving side to side in a steady controlled manner.

Reverse Swinging
 Another move inspired by my kiddos.  Lay on the swing instead of sitting and use your legs to keep you going.  Pull your knees to your chest as you move forward and push them back out as you move backward.  It's opposite of kicking and pulling your legs while swinging the traditional way.  This will really work your lower abs though I will say it is not the most comfortable positions!

The Bicycle 
 This can be done anywhere that you can lay back on your elbows.  I used this surf board looking thing to make it a little more challenging.  The board is designed to tilt and helps kids learn balance and they pretend to "surf" on it.  Lay back on your elbows and extend both legs in front of you.  One leg at a time, bring your knee to your chest and then return to your starting position.

Bench Tucks
 Find an empty bench.  Sit on the edge and extend your legs straight out in front of you.  Slowly bring your knees to your chest and return to your starting position.

 You can find all sorts of ways to do planks on a playground.  I used these concrete balls.  I have no idea what their intended purpose is other than to look like fun decorations.  Place your arms on the object of your choice and plant your feet behind you making a straight board with your body.  The lower to the ground you are, the harder.  You can even just use the ground or find some nice plush spring grass and take it all the way down to your elbows.  Try using the bottom of a slide, a ladder, or rock walls.  You can even use a cargo net which would make you have to balance a little more, causing you to engage your core muscles even more.

Slide Leg Lifts
This one is similar to the Bicycle.  Sit at the top of a slide and hold onto the bar for support.  One at a time, lift your knee to your chest and lower it back down to your starting position.  When you are finished, slide on down!!

The amount of reps for each exercise will depend on your fitness level.  I recommend starting with 12 - 15 reps each and moving up from there.  I love to work out to music.  I have made a playlist of songs that I cut into 1 and 2 min segments so I typically will do one exercise per song and not worry about counting reps.

Enjoy your workout!


  1. I love the spinning cups! They're so fun!

  2. Awesome Kristin! BTW, you look awesome!!!! :)