We are back (no pun intended!) with part 4 of our series on free printable workout routines! This time I am going to be reviewing my month long journey through a fitness program called “Back & Core” by one of the best places to find free exercise materials: Darebee.com.
You have seen me highlight them over the past three months as I have used their site exclusively for these reviews. If you want to check out my reviews of the previous programs, see the list below:
Next month, I am going to be attempting to branch out a bit, but I will save that post for Wednesday when I talk about what’s on tap for the month of April! Be sure to check back then for the inside scoop.
In case you are wondering why I want to point you to a free resource, it’s for a couple of reasons.
The first is the whole motto behind this site. “Effective Fitness. Budget-Friendly“. Well, it doesn’t get more budget-friendly than free. My frustration with the fitness industry was that a lot of it is too expensive. I look at a lot of pieces of gym equipment, sessions with personal trainers, and gym memberships and I immediately think it’s impossible.
I have a tight budget because I have two kids with a third on the way and I know I’m not the only one out there like that. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with gyms or trainers as they are doing a great job, but not everyone can afford them.
However, I think fitness should be achievable for everyone, no matter what their economic standing!
My second reason for highlighting this free resource is the other part of my motto: It is incredibly effective! No matter where you are in your fitness journey, from beginner to advanced, Darebee has a workout or program for you.
Now that you know the “why”, it’s time to get into the core (again, no pun intended!) of our featured program for this month: “Back & Core”
Back & Core – What Is It And What Does It Entail
The purpose of this 30 day program is all in the name. The focus is almost completely on strengthening your entire core and back (specifically the lower back). A strong core is essential for life. Now before you think I’m being dramatic, imagine yourself without any abdominal or back muscles…pretty floppy right?
You can function without arms or legs, but your core is the support system for your entire body. It’s what holds it all up! In addition to holding it up, the core is the foundation for most, if not all, movement. That’s why it should never be neglected in anyone’s workout routine.
I’m not talking about getting a six-pack either. The core is so much more than those visible muscles. It also contains stabilizing muscles that are responsible for balance and control (something that becomes more and more important the older you get).
“Back & Core” is a no-equipment, bodyweight exercise program that is mostly focused on those two areas. There isn’t really any cardio to speak of, so it might be a good idea to combine this with a jogging routine (Darebee suggests this also).
It contains exercises that involve standing, sitting, lying down, light yoga, and plank variations.
The difficulty level of this particular program has been rated a 2 out of 5, so while suitable for beginners, it will definitely be of challenge (more on that later!). Additionally, it’s not going to take you all day as most of the daily workouts can be completed in anywhere from 15-20 minutes, depending on your fitness level and how much rest you take in between sets.
Like all other Darebee programs, it is recommended to pair it with their Modern Hero Mealplan, which is simple and completely customizable.
Troubleshooting – Dealing With Problems And Modifications
Each of the workouts in “Back & Core” are illustrated and mostly easy to follow. There were a couple of times the pictures didn’t quite give me a totally clear idea of the movement, but those were few and far between.
What makes it easier is that Darebee supplies a full Instruction Manual to explain each of the various moves found on their website. If you are having trouble deciphering a picture, I would recommend starting there.
However, if you still find yourself stuck on how to perform a move, the site also provides a huge video library of their exercises. These various videos can also be found on their YouTube channel. I will post a few video examples of moves from “Back & Core” at the end of this section.
Additionally, feel free to visit their Get Started page to learn more about how to get around their site.
When it comes to modifications to the program, you may need make some. It is definitely one of the more challenging that I have highlighted on this website. The most difficult challenges come from the plank variations. I can do elbow and regular planks all day, but Darebee ups the challenge with one-handed and raised leg versions.
These get pretty tough, so a simple modification might be to stay in a regular plank until you build up to the suggested movement.
There are also some balance focused days that can be pretty challenging, forcing you to move from one pose to another while standing on one leg. While they may seem simple, the execution is tough and will really force you to focus on what you are doing.
For those with balance issues, standing next to a wall or sturdy surface might be a good idea, as well as avoiding the more complicated movements until you gain more control and confidence.
If you are looking for more challenge from the workouts, I do feel there is opportunity to add some equipment. Below are a couple of ideas you might use to maximize your results:
- Sportneer Adjustable Ankle/Wrist Weights – Each weight straps to your wrist or ankle and can be customized to hold 1-5 lbs of weight.
- Why I Suggest Them: Not only do these make the ab exercises more challenging, but they could also throw an extra challenge during the balance exercises. Making you more off-balance forces you to use your stabilizing muscles even more!
- Half-Ball Balance Trainers: I made a list of 8 different versions you might want to check out.
- Why I Suggest Them: These balance trainers force you to engage every stabilizing muscle of the core, so you will work your muscles harder and get faster results!
Now that we have had an overview of the program, check out the videos below to preview some of the exercises you can expect to see while going through it!
What I Liked About The Program
Let me start by giving a very personal reason for enjoying the program. Before beginning it in the month of February, I injured my lower back.
I don’t know how I did it, but whatever I did really messed up that section of my body to the point where I was having trouble walking by the end of a work day. Yes, it was that bad. I took some time off to go to the chiropractor and start the healing process.
However, I knew that my back also needed strengthening. Darebee was the first place I looked for help as I have had such a good experience with them in the past (evidenced by my other reviews). I immediately gravitated toward “Back & Core“. Those first few days were really tough as my back was still bothering me.
However, I kept up with going to the doctor, icing to reduce swelling before switching to heat for healing, and followed the program. I must say, that at the end of the month, my back pain is almost all gone.
While I attribute this a lot to the healing portion in the beginning of the month, since we’ve moved to social distancing, I haven’t gone to the chiropractor. My recovery has mostly been the strengthening routine.
It really is incredible how much it has improved! Now, please note that my above story is not an attempt by me to say this is a miracle cure for all back pain, nor is it an attempt to diagnose or treat anything. I’m just here to testify that I think it worked for me!
Now, other than helping my back pain, I find a few other great benefits to using the program. The first of which is I feel my core has also gotten stronger. My abdominal muscles have also become more defined over the course of the month.
Something else I appreciate about the program is that it can be done rather quickly. Your experience may vary, but for me, I was able to complete most of the workouts in 15 minutes and get on with the rest of my day.
That is especially beneficial when I have two young kids home from school now and a pregnant wife who needs more of my help!
Lastly, I think the daily workouts were varied enough that I didn’t get bored and the easier days were really well-timed!
What I Didn’t Like About The Program
I think my main issue with any of the Darebee programs, “Back & Core” included, is that some may find the jump in difficulty to be too much. This is especially true when in some instances, it has been a while since you have done a certain exercise and all of a sudden it comes back and you are doing a lot more repetitions.
Now, even though the jump was challenging, I was able to do it, so perhaps my body was ready for it. Your experience may be similar or different.
The only other issue I have is with consistency. There were a couple of instances in which moves were done early in the program and never revisited again, while other times, whole workouts were repeated with increased difficulty. It may have helped to have more of a consistent pattern.
The Verdict – Strong To The Core
Darebee.com has done it again with their “Back & Core” workout program. Not only did it really help with my back pain over the course of the month, but it also strengthened my entire core and added some definition to my abdominal muscles.
This is one of those free printable workout routines where the moves were challenging enough to get great results, but not so much that they became impossible. I would highly recommend you check it out!
Now, it’s your turn! Do you think Darebee’s program is worth checking out? Have you found that exercise has helped you with body aches and pains?
On a different note, what is your opinion of Chiropractors? Do you use them regularly or have you avoided them?
For those of you who have used them, do you enjoy the popping sound or does it creep you out?
Lastly, do you have a funny Chiropractor story? Let me hear it and all your other thoughts in the comments below!
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That’s all for now! As always, God bless and happy workouts!