Ahhh, that little rugrat has finally been evicted from your uterus and landed soft, pink and adorable in your arms. You can lay on your tummy again! You can breathe!
But now the tummy that baby formerly called home is feeling a little mushy, gushy. Where do you even start when it comes to repairing your abs?! Here’s where.
Do these four exercises EVERY DAY! It will help the most important support muscles get back to being awesome (and holding in your insides. That’s important too). Once you master these, then move on to the traditional crunch. Or P90X, whatever you prefer 😉
*Note: Ladies who had C-Section deliveries should hold off on all but the Kegels ’till that incision heals a bit.
Kegels: Yeah, I know you’ve been told to do them a million times. Well, there’s a reason for that! *Achooooo* Did you just pee a little? Yeah, that’s why. First, clentch the muscles that stop you from peeing. Imagine these muscles are an elevator going up. Count to 10 as the elevator goes up. Then slowly release counting again to 10. It might feel kinda awkward just sitting there and tightening your “nether regions” but it is the best exercise you can possibly do. If you are nursing, work up to doing it for almost the entire time baby nurses. Tough? Yes. But your uterus is contracting anyway while nursing so you are getting a two for the price of one here!
Cat/Cow: I know it sounds simple, but this exercise is amazing for your back, abs and mis-aligned hips. Doing this repeatedly will massage those muscles back into place. The elasticity and control you gain will help you bounce back much faster and help you avoid lower back pain. Move slowly, tightening that tummy as you move. Try to work up to a whole minute! Do this whenever your back or hips need a little lovin’.
Bird dog: I’ve’ reached a year post partum and this is still my favorite tummy exercise! All those crucial stabilizer muscles are gonna get worked! Kneel on the floor in a table-top position – hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Lift your right leg up and back and your left arm up and forward. Nothing else should move. If it does, you have lifted those arms and legs too much. Now tighten all those back and core muscles and count to 10. Lower and do the same thing on the other side. When you switch it up again, add another five seconds to the count. Keep on going until baby demands your attention (maybe 30 seconds, huh? 🙂 ) If a couple inches is all you can do today, that’s great! Just keep working at it. This exercise can progress into infinity and beyond, which is one reason why I love it.
Supine toe touches: OK, now we get to the real core-burning craziness.
- Lie on your back (Don’t fall asleep)
- Lift your legs up to the sky and then bend your knees so your shins are parallel with the floor. Your body should look like the letter Z with that middle line sticking straight up.
- Now your toes will take turns just barely kissing the ground then coming back up. Do this for at least a minute (or until baby screams again). Tighten that tummy and take it slow. Eventually you can straighten those legs, raise your upper body into a crunch and alternate touching your toes with the opposite hand. But you just had a baby, let’s not get crazy here.
Bonus: Here’s a super awkward product that claims to help with Kegels – complete with how-to video!