Hey Pretty Mama,
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Now that you have most likely had your had 6-week or 8-week postpartum check-up, you are probably eager to get back to your exercise routine. The best form of postpartum exercise to do for your midsection, are postpartum core-based exercises. Reason being is because it focuses on pelvic floor strength and activation of the deep abdominal muscles or TA (Tranverse abdominis). These are the two main areas of the abdominals that as a Pre & Postpartum Fitness Coach, I want to focus on building back up again first, before moving on to any other area of the abdominals. Got that?
If you do the wrong types of exercises too quickly after birth, or if you know you have an abdominal separation of more than 2cm width apart, then chances are, you’ll make any abdominal separation that’s currently there, actually slightly and/or severely worse.
Let me tell you – this makes my job much, much harder in your rehabilitation!
So, here’s a quick checklist of exercises to avoid if you:
- a) haven’t done any core-based exercise post-birth, or,
- b) have an abdominal separation present
Ready? Here we go:
- Resisted flexion – I’m talking about sit ups here, by the way
- The Plank – because the amount of pressure placed on your abdominals whilst performing this exercise is immense, and can easily make any gap in your abdominals worse!
- High-intensity, so called “stability” exercises, often performed on uneven surfaces like a Swiss ball – mainly because your body will find easier ways of stabilising itself which involves using the wrong muscles in place of your stabilisers.
- Any movement that involves strong/resisted rotation or side flexion – this might be something like holding a hand weight in front of you and you twisting it to the right or left, or indeed holding a dumbbell in your right hand and your bending your body down to the right. These movements, coupled with
- Movements that stretch the abdominals – these will not only feel uncomfortable before, during and after the event, but they are most unsuitable for a weakened, overstretched unit.
- Really pulling your abdominals in tightly – over-activation through the core or “gripping” with these muscles is often mistaken that the harder you hold your tummy muscles in, the flatter your stomach will become, and faster. This is not the case.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but that’s just the major exercise movements you want to avoid doing when returning to exercise. You might be thinking “Well, what the hell CAN I do?”, and you’ll be happy to know, there is a plethora of exercise you can do and I’m here to help explain it to you.
By the way, if you’re unsure if your abdominals have a separation or not, why not ask your OB to check them for you, or better still, ask me to test them for you before or after one of our sessions? I’m more than happy to do this for you. It’s peace of mind for you, and for me that everything’s ok, isn’t it?
Be well pretty Mama, be fit, be strong and always confident.