First, you need to assess yourself for diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
This occurs when the connective tissue between your abdominal muscles thins, causing your muscles to separate. This is a common pregnancy condition, but some women may have a more severe case.
To check for diastasis recti, simply lie on your back, contract your abdominal muscles and press gently into your abdomen above and below your navel. If you can feel a soft spot or gap between the muscles, then you do have a separation. One to two finger-widths is normal and should close on its own. If your gap is wider than three finger-widths, it may not be a bad idea to contact a physical therapist to ensure proper closing of the gap.
SYMPHYSIS PUBIS DYSFUNCTION (SPD)
There is one other fun side effect of pregnancy that some women have the joy of experiencing called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). When you suffer from SPD, the ligaments that are supposed to keep your pelvis aligned become lax. This leads to instability in the pelvic joint, allowing it to move in ways it was never intended to move.
These following exercises target the transverse abdominals as well as the pelvic floor muscles, which are the keystone for a strong core. These exercises are low-key enough that you can begin doing them soon after delivery. If you had a c-section, you’ll want to give yourself more time to heal to prevent opening the incision or further damaging the tissues.
To get on the right track, include pelvic tilts, belly breathing, and abdominal bracing in your daily routine as soon after birth as you comfortably can. Add arm and leg movements to the bracing to prepare your abdomen for more intense movements.
THE 6 CORE EXERCISES
Isometric abdominal exercises will be your bread and butter for the first couple of months. These exercises are the most effective way to target the bulk of the abdomen while improving strength throughout your entire midsection.
Incorporate two to three sets of each of these exercises, holding each one for at least thirty seconds working your way up to one to two minutes, into your workout routine.
1. Belly Breathing
Belly breathing simply involves allowing your stomach to expand and contract as much as possible while you actively inhale and exhale as deeply as possible.
2. Abdominal Bracing
Begin by lying face-up on the floor. Brace your abdomen by contracting your entire abdomen as if you were preparing to get hit in the stomach. This is your starting position. From here, perform different movements such as raising one or both arms overhead or extending your legs while keeping your back flat against the floor.
3. Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor or propped on a ball. Brace your abdomen and tilt your pelvis back by pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold this position for five seconds then repeat.
4. Yoga Boat
Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Brace your abdomen, slightly lean your torso back while lifting your feet off the floor. Lift until your shins are parallel with the floor, your back is straight and your hips are flexed to ninety degrees. Extend your arms forward to a comfortable position to help maintain your balance. Hold here for at least thirty seconds.
5. Dolphin Plank
Place your elbows on the top of a stability ball and extended your legs out behind. Brace your abdomen and hips, straighten your back and hold the position for at least thirty seconds. This exercise is basically just a standard plank but you’re adding in the instability of the ball.
6. Side Plank
Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder. Stack your hips and feet, stabilize your core, and lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line. Hold here for at least thirty seconds. Repeat on the other side. Add ten to twenty leg lifts (shown in the video below) to the side plank to further improve hip strength and stability.
Move Train Feel Strong x