In the last post I shared some general tips about post pregnancy fitness and getting those pre-baby abs back. Now it’s time to get a bit more specific and take things up a notch to flatten that tummy and strengthen the core.
When it comes to exercise, routines can be as simple or as complex as you like to make them. Personally I believe that exercise should be simple, fun , and efficient to ensure that you will stick with it! Here is a simple core training program of 4 simple moves that you can follow and wont require you to do a single crunch! I call it the Core 4!
Targets the Transverse Abdominus. The Transverse is a deep abdominal muscle that basically acts like an internal girdle to help pull all of the core muscles in tight. Either standing or lying only the ground simply take a deep breath and draw your navel in toward your spine. As you feel your abs begin to tighten, hold that position for about 10-15 seconds and release. Breathe normally the entire time – don’t hold your breath! Repeat 3-5 times working up toward 10 repetitions.
Targets the Oblique muscles which are located on the sides of the stomach. Sit on the ground and bend your knees with your heels touching the ground. Lean your upper body back slowly until you feel tension on your abs. If you feel a strain on your low back, sit up straighter. Clasp your hands in front of your chest and slowly rotate side to side moving your hands toward the ground as you twist. Twist all the way to the right and all the way to the left and return to center. That is one repetition. Shoot for 10-12. As you get stronger, lean back further, lift your feet off the ground or hold a light medicine ball for resistance.
Works the “lower abs”. There really is no such thing as the lower ab but I am referring to that “pooch” area all women want to eliminate. When you work your abs from the bottom up the resistance is closer to the lower portion of your abs and consequently more of the work is being done there. To work from the bottom up lay on your back and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle with your shins parallel to the floor. Slowly roll your hips up ward off the floor bringing your knees toward your chest and return to the starting position. Perform 10-15 slow repetitions.
The Plank for core stabilization. The plank is a great exercise to strengthen the entire core. Simply lie face down on the floor. Then prop yourself up on your forearms and toes lifting your body off the floor. Gently pull your navel in toward your spine to create a straight back. Maintain normal breathing and try to hold this position for 10 –15 seconds. Add time with each workout until you can hold the plank for 60 seconds.
You will note that these 4 exercises work the entire core through both stabilization and movement. There is a great piece of exercise equipment on the market called the Ab Coaster which allows you to do all of this on one simple machine. The Ab Coaster mimics the hanging leg raise exercise which is considered to be the gold standard in core training because it requires you to stabilize the core while moving through a range of motion. The problem is that most people don’t have the strength to do it. Now they can with the Ab Coaster. Check it out at HERE
The human body is amazing and it will begin to recover from pregnancy within days. Noticeable change will begin to take place 4-6 weeks postpartum provided you are following a sensible eating and exercise plan. The key is to get started and begin to build momentum. Start with a couple days a week and go from there. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect, but takes positive steps daily. Your body and your baby will be glad you did!