So you have been cleared for exercise after baby and you want to get started with exercise safely. Firstly, well done you!! Birthing a person is pretty major so now that you are ready to getting reconnected with your core I want to offer you some great post-natal exercises to get you started.
Hopefully you have caught my last two blogs on this topic ‘5 Signs that your post baby body isn’t ready for your workout’ and ‘5 exercises to avoid after having a baby’. Now let’s get to the solutions.
These 5 simple exercises you can do every day in 5 -10 minutes (it’s got to be quick right?). Over time you will start to notice a subtle change in your body where your back hurts less, your body stands up taller on its own, maybe your low belly pooch decreases or your diastasis begins to reduce in width, your pelvic floor functions better and overall you just feel better
I know you boot camp peeps may scoff but you’ll thank me when your core, pelvic floor and hips are actually strong enough to do your boot camp exercises correctly without pelvic pressure, back pain or doming in the abdomen.
1. Transverse Abdominus/Pelvic Floor activation – Also known as Hug the Belly. #1 best thing you can do to restore your core strength after baby. a)Seated in a chair or stability ball or on knees, start with a theraband, belt or strap wrapped around your waist at your belly button.
See images below, I have done the exercises without the band so you can see what’s going on. The band offers you a bit of sensory feedback but you can do it without.
b)Inhale and feel your ribs expand 360 degrees and relax your pelvic floor fully. (This may be hard to feel and don’t push down, just imagine that you are releasing all tension from your tailbone to your pubic bone and between each of your sitz bones)
c)As you exhale feel like you are drawing your pelvic floor in and up (Not a clench. Imagine your pubic bone, tailbone, and each sitz bone drawing towards the center then lifting from the basement to the 3rd floor in an elevator) d)Peel your belly button straight back and away from the band while stitching your ribs together and keeping shoulder out of your ears. (not a suck in). Do 10 – 20 a day.
a)Begin laying flat on your back with knees bent and each foot on apaper plate or wash cloth. b)Settle into neutral spine (where you feel like you are flat on the back of the sacrum, and have a small grape in your low back. Don smash the grape and don’t let it roll away.) Maintain this position and don’t rock side to side as you complete the exercise. c)Inhale (like in the previous exercise) to slide 1 leg away.
d)Exhale, feel the connection of the pelvic floor and low TVA first, then begin to draw the leg in. It’s important that you feel the connection a split second before you move.e)Alternate side to side 5 – 8 times, as long as you can maintain core connection and neutral pelvis.
3. Hip abduction/ adduction
a)Lie on mat on your side. Line up back of head, ribs and pelvis in a straight line. Bend bottom knee forward for support and reach top leg long and in a straight line. Hug the belly to avoid collapsing into bottom side.
b)Slowly lengthen the top leg and float up to hip height. NOTE: Keep the pelvis and waistline steady, do not let bottom ribs drop into mat and fold at the hip only. You should feel this in your glutes. c)Complete 5 – 8 reps on each side. You can add to this with small circles in either direction.
4. Mini swan with rib lift
a)Lay on stomach, forearms down by your side. b)Reach through the crown of your head to lift your head and bring your gaze to the front of your mat but not too far and begin to slowly peel your chest up.
c)Hold here and inhale 360 degrees letting the belly and pelvic floor relax. d)Exhale, lift the pelvic floor in and up and begin to peel the ribs and belly away from the mat. Repeat 5 – 8 times.
5. Side Lifts
a)Lie on your side with elbow or hand under shoulder. Line up back of head, ribs and pelvis in a straight line. Bend knees forward and line up heels with sits bones. Hug the belly (see exercise 1) to avoid collapsing into bottom side.
b)Exhale and lift hips straight off the mat using bottom oblique and glute. Inhale at top. c)Exhale to lower down. Complete 5 – 8 reps on each side.
While these exercises may seem small, they will help to rebuild your core from the inside out and will aid not only in gaining back that flat tummy after having a baby but also building the most important muscles for you to be a strong and resilient mum. Because ladies, MUMMING IS HARD WORK! You need your body to work for you and not against you. So let’s get you there!
Contact me on the details below to discuss your exercise needs to rebuild your strength after having a baby. All my Pilates mat classes teach correct core engagement and offer modifications for post-natal mums. I have a class especially for mums on Thursdays at 2pm in Byron Bay. My home equipment studio in Lennox Head can provide smaller group classes or private sessions for more support.