A flat, strong belly is the gift for mom that keeps on giving.
Hello, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I’ve worked with many postpartum moms and hands down, the biggest goal is getting their stomachs and abs back to pre-pregnancy status. It’s usually followed by me doing my best to sympathize as a male and then carefully explaining that No, those crunches aren’t helping and (cough-cough-cough) in fact, may be exacerbating the problem.
A quick note on your core: Your transverse abdominis (TVA) is your innermost core muscle and acts as a corset to pull in a protruding stomach. The TVA worked hard to carry that little bundle of joy, so it’s probably a good idea to return the love. And until your TVA and inner-core muscles are strong enough to act as an antagonist, a good rule to follow is avoiding any ‘bulging’ exercises, so that means no crunches, front planks and jackknifing / hip flexion. Before getting started, you’ll want to check for diastasis recti. This occurs when the connective tissue between your abdominal muscles thins, causing your muscles to separate. The video below does a great job breaking it down:
See what these women way smarter than I am have to say about all of this:
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I reached out to one of the fittest moms I know, La Jolla Sports Club personal trainer, Christal Rodrigues, to find her favorite postpartum exercises. Here’s Christal in her own words:
This is the essential pelvic tilt, you can do this pretty soon after having a baby. With a C-section, you should wait eight to 10 weeks. You need to work your transverse muscle, so work from inside to out to start pulling in those abs again. Do anywhere from three to four sets of 25 repetitions with a small towel under your back.
At the arch, push down and bring your pelvis toward your nose, creating a ‘C’ with your abs, pulling your bellybutton to your spine and then releasing, avoiding forming an arch with your back.
After you’ve done your pelvic tilt for one week, and you’re feeling confident, start doing the tilts on a ball. Choose a ball height that puts your legs at a 90° angle and screw your pelvis toward your nose, creating a concave, by pulling your belly button to your spine. Then push your glutes back, creating a convex and sticking your clothes back as you rotate from front to back pulling in the abs each and every time making them tighter.
The second part of this exercise works your obliques as you lean to the side squeezing your abs, pulling them in as tight as possible as your hips are going to the side. Alternate sides, ensuring that on all four of these exercises, your shoulders are as still as possible.
When you feel comfortable with the above, try rotating both ways on the ball side to side in a circular motion. Three sets of 15 to 30 rotations.
Not mentioned above, but another great option to help restore the core is hatha yoga. And listen to those bodies! OK, our Mother’s Day gifts for mom blog comes to a close. See you next week!
// Your La Jolla Sports Club team