strong abs with mother trucker yoga blog post

Best Core Exercises for Truck Drivers

Best Core Exercises for Truck Drivers when they don’t have a lot of time.

We have all heard how important it is to strengthen your core, but the only problem is most people are still doing traditional core work. 

What is traditional core work?

Traditional core work in my experience is exercised flat on your back, where you flex your body (crunch) up off the floor. When movements like these are coupled with flailing fast and furious body parts, you feel out of breath and hurt for the wrong reasons. Yet there we are calling “sit-ups” an excellent core workout when there is a better way. 

Times have changed and so has how we move, with the average person sitting 13 hours a day that’s enough if that’s not enough to consider moving more, I don’t know what is. And if you average in 8 hours of sleep on average, a person gets, that 21 hours PER DAY people are sitting. 

The stats don’t lie, we sit way to much!

On top of all of that sitting at work, and for meals and commuting, the respondents:

  • Sit another 1-2 hours while watching TV (36 percent)
  • Game another 1-2 hours (10 percent)
  • Lounge for 1-2 hours for things such as reading (25 percent)
  • Use their home computer for 1-2 hours (29 percent)” (PRNewswire)

And truck driver or not- we Americans sit WAY TO MUCH! 

So when you choose exercises to try to improve your health, fitness, and overall well-being, we want to make sure we are selecting movements that aid us in our everyday life.

Why Not Sit-Ups?

The traditional sit-up is done flat on your back; when core-based exercises are all performed this way, we lose the opportunity to use our back muscles (which are a part of our core). So if you are concerned with the health of your back and spine, it is best to opt for other movements when focusing on your midsection. 

Sit-ups also focus primarily on flexion, and for someone who spends most of their day sitting, this is not helping you. All of that flexion encourages the chest, pec, and neck muscles to stay short and tight, and the upper back and neck muscles to continue to be overstretched and strained. Think about your driving position (or if you are in an office, how you sit at your computer), after a few hours you end up with your head sinking forward and your shoulders and chest collapsing forward over the steering wheel. Like you would yank and pull on your upper body during a sit-up. 

Finally, those good-intentioned sit-ups only work a small portion of your core, and the movement you are choosing to do shortens the abs rather than lengthens them. And if you are going to work on your back, make sure you are finding what is called “neutral.” A place where your lower back is not pressed flat into the floor nor overly arched. 

So when you choose the best types of exercises to strengthen your core as a truck driver, choose movements that:

  1. Focus on form and function.

     Gone are the days that huffing and puffing, yanking and jerking your body all over the place and calling it a good workout are over. Core exercises or not, challenge yourself and see how well you can hold a move or move slowly and control how you move every step of the way. 

  2. Focus on movements that extend more than flex.

    The extension works the body 408% (roughly 10x) more effectively than flexion does.

  3. Focus on movements that include working your back muscles.

    When all we do is “front core” exercises or what many of us call “ab” exercises we actually leave our back vulnerable for injury. By inadvertently over strengthening our front core and neglecting our back muscles (which are a part of our core) we can sometimes do more harm than good. (Read more about neck issues what exercises to do to help)

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), core training is an essential part of any personal fitness routine. Your core helps transfer force and power from your lower to upper limbs. The stronger your midsection is, the safer you’ll be during exercise, plus when you have a stronger core, you are less likely to injure your back.

4 Exercises for Truckers to Strengthen Their Core:

Exercise #1 – Weighted Extension:

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Find a place to sit on your sleeper, the ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Bend your knees (optional place a pillow or small ball between your knees to squeeze for lower body stability. (If your tail bone is sensitive place a blanket under your tailbone)
  3. Grab your weight (1 lb – 10 lbs) and place it at your chest.
  4. Keep a straight spine (no rounding in the shoulders, upper back, or lower back).
  5. Inhale and exhale to prepare.
  6. Inhale slightly tuck your tail bone under and lean back to 45 degrees (do not go all the way down).
  7. Exhale and with control draw your body back up sitting tall and press your arms overhead/weight.
  8. Do not round your upper body when pressing up overhead. If your shoulders are tight press the arms to a 45-degree angle.
  9. Repeat this 10-30 reputations working on form, function, and control.

Weighted core full extension truck driver core workout mother trucker yoga blog post

Exercise #2 – Oblique Weighted Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Find a place to sit on your sleeper, the ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Bend your knees (optional place a pillow or small ball between your knees to squeeze for lower body stability. (If your tail bone is sensitive place a blanket under your tailbone)
  3. Grab your weight (1 lb – 10 lbs) and hold it in front of your chest (imagine there is a pole keeping your hands in front of your chest).
  4. Keep a straight spine (no rounding in the shoulders, upper back, or lower back).
  5. Inhale and exhale to prepare.
  6. Inhale slightly tuck your tail bone under and lean back to 45 degrees (do not go all the way down).
  7. Inhale and work to rotate to the right, really pay attention to your spine and rib cage rotating (not your hips and pelvis).
  8. Exhale and return back to center (stay at 45-degree angle).
  9. Inhale and work to rotate to the left, go as far as you can without rolling onto one hip or rounding your spine.
  10. Repeat this 5 to 20 rep each direction.

Oblique Weighted Twist Core Exercise Mother Trucker yoga Blog Post

Exercise #3 – Plank Oblique Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Start on your hands and knees on the sleeper, ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Drop to your forearms and place your elbows and fists a forearm’s width apart.
  3. Step one foot back at a time until your body is in one straight line.
  4. Press your fists into the floor to help activate your core.
  5. Drop your tailbone between your legs and press your lower abs and hip bones into your lower back.
  6. Draw your shoulders back and breathe.
  7. Now rotate your hips and lower body to the right.
  8. Press your hips up slightly to activate your obliques.
  9. Hold for 5-20 breaths, then repeat the opposite side.

Plank Oblique Twist Best Core Exercises for Truckers Mother Trucker Yoga Blog Post

Exercise #4 – Plank Oblique Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Start by lying down on your sleeper, the ground, or the floor.
  2. Adjust your pelvis so it’s level, do not press your lower back into the floor, imagine a small arch in your lower back.
  3. Draw your legs up to a tabletop position (optional: put a mini ball or pillow between the knees and squeeze for more stability) and flex your feet (you can opt to keep your feet on the ground OR do a few reps with one leg, and then switch to the other).
  4. Grab your weight (optional) and extend it up overhead. Turn the folds of your elbows towards your nose (shoulders move in external rotation).
  5. Inhale and exhale, work to stabilize your core, remember only go as far as you can keep your back and ribs from arching and pulling up towards the ceiling.
  6. Inhale, and begin to lower your legs towards the floor and your arms overhead.
  7. Reach through your fingers to stretch the shoulders.
  8. Exhale and draw your arms back up and knees back up over your hips.
  9. Repeat this 10 – 30 times moving mindfully with your breath. This is not a race.
  10. To make this more of a challenge (as long as you can keep your back from arching) once your heels meet 1 inch off the floor, press your legs long and engage your glutes and inner thighs.
  11. You go this!

Weighted core full extension truck driver core exercise mother trucker yoga blog post

weighted core full extension for truck drivers mother trucker yoga blog post

Strengthening your core is extremely important regardless of your physical state or your age. When implemented correctly, you can experience a decreased risk of injury, better stability, and performance during workouts. A strong core improves the quality of life for everyone and reduces the chances of severe injury.

Age, mobility restrictions, or past injuries shouldn’t prevent you from strengthening your core. You can get all these benefits by performing these exercises safely and effectively. Focus on proper breathing and posture first and ditch the sit-ups. You’re bound to notice better balance and stability and may even see a reduction in back pain. But they won’t do anything for you unless you allow yourself to start today with 5 minutes of simple core work. 

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