Courtney Wyckoff, founder of Momma Strong, believes the human body is a marvel.
“The fact that we are able to walk around on two relatively small surfaces while balancing a massive bowling ball on the tippy top is nothing short of a miracle,” she said with a laugh. “We have our incredible spines, the even more amazing web of connective tissue and the dynamically supportive dance of our muscles to thank for this miracle. “
Reminding women of their inner strength is one of Wyckoff’s main goals. She has created Momma Strong, an online exercise program for mothers, to offer feasible, sustainable and effective routines, as well as access to other health resources. “We can no longer merely strengthen our bodies with push-ups and cardio,” Wyckoff said. “Conditioning our entire body is essential to living in our own skin with resiliency, vitality and ease.”
But, she assures women that like any good engineering feat, the actual system to get and stay strong is simple. Here is her breakdown of the basic and most effective ways to tone the body:
Legs -- While you might assume that activities like running and biking are the best for getting your legs strong, this is not the case. These forms of exercise may provide some benefit -- but mostly in the form of endurance. The best way to strengthen legs is through high impact training and isometric holds.
Butt -- The most effective way to strengthen and tone the tush is through a combination of squats – held squats, potty squats, jump squats and single leg squats -- and an overabundance of small leg lifts. The one caveat here is pelvis placement. You must NOT tuck the pelvis under in order to engage and tone the gluts. In other words, moderately extend the low back while doing these exercises and you’ll results very quickly.
Arms -- Heavy weights are only moderately effective. The best way to strengthen and tone the arms is to do something as simple as a plank hold position and variations on that plank position.
Core -- Crunches are no longer the best way to strength the abdominals. To change the function and appearance of the waist requires engaging deep core muscle called the transverse abdominis. Fortunately, the plank position will also target this muscle , if abdominal bracing, which involves dynamic breathing and muscular “corsetting” of the midsection, is applied. In fact, this bracing technique can be done in every movement throughout the day for a truly strong core.
Back -- The weakest part of most people these days – because of sedentary lifestyle and our downward gaze at electronics – is the mid back. The easiest way to strengthen the back does not involve machines or fancy equipment. All you need to do is lie face down on a mat or soft surface and do some superman-like moves.
Wyckoff, a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist, has 14 years experience in the field of fitness, nutrition and injury prevention and treatment. After an injury forced her to retire from a professional ballet career, she began an in-depth study of biomechanical performance and jump-started her career in wellness.
Later, after becoming a mother herself eight years ago, she applied her research to women’s health, resulting in specializations in pelvic stabilization, core integration and postpartum resiliency training. Today there are more than 5,000 members worldwide who have joined Momma Strong. For more information about Momma Strong, visit http://mommastrong.com.
About Momma Strong
Founded by Courtney Wyckoff in 2011, Momma Strong offers online fitness programs customized for the unique needs of mothers. A mother of two and Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Wyckoff creates at-home programs for women that focus on mental and physical strength and resiliency. In-person classes are also available for those in the Houston area. To learn more, visit MommaStrong.com.