Core Strength Training with Fido

by Mackenzie M. | November 6th, 2012 | Core, Strength Training

Last week I wrote some tips about running with the family dog to increase running habits. This week, I want to focus another way to incorporate the family dog into an exercise routine. It builds off of running into the area of core strength training. Believe it or not, there are several ways to core strength train with Fido. From trying dog yoga, to wearing weight while taking the dog for a walk, there are a plethora of ways to build core muscles while keeping your dog happy outside.

Perhaps the most unconventional way to exercise with a dog is the best way to build core strength in humans. Doga, or dog yoga, developed in major cities within the past few years, and it has gained a large and dedicated following. Doga includes elements of massage, stretching, and muscle building for both owner and canine. Naturally, many yoga enthusiasts dismiss this practice as nonsense, but practitioners of the unique exercise routine cannot help but rave about it. As with any kind of yoga, the slow and difficult movements and stretches allow for muscle building, especially in the core region. This is a great way to build up abs, as well as become more connected to your dog. The New York Times even wrote an article about the practice. They asserted that dogs actually serve as motivation for people to work out through yoga in the same way that they motivate the owner to go on walks.

As mentioned in my previous article, running with the family dog is a wonderful cardio workout. The same workout actually helps build core muscles as well. Running with the family dog provides the resistance needed to build a strong mid-section and even stronger leg muscles. The combination of fat-burning cardio and muscle building will lead to a trimmer and more muscular core in no time. For more resistance, adding ankle weights will amplify the toning affects on the core. Running in short, forceful spurts will produce the best results. As with doga and walks, dogs serve as great motivation for getting out on a core building run through the park.

Skijor is another interesting way to gain core muscle strength with the help of your dog. Skijor is a mix between cross-country skiing and mushing. The person stands on cross-country skis with a dog harnessed to them. This is a team effort in which the dog pulls the person forward while the person uses the skis to keep the momentum going. This results in great momentum and speed, and plenty of resistance training for working those core muscles. While not everyone has access to snow, there is a snow-free version of the sport. The International Sled Dog Racing Association recognizes both versions of the sport and clubs exist in both Europe and North America. Again, skijor works muscles in the legs and especially in the core muscle areas.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.