After pregnancy, your ab muscles will need some special care and attention to slowly return to their prior shape and strength.
Your abs and belly skin have been stretched out to make room for your growing baby. For some moms, the elasticity of the skin and tummy muscles may never be the same as they were pre-pregnancy. While there’s not much you can do about your skin, there is a whole lot you can do to regain the strength and tightness of your ab muscles below the skin.
With this gentle core routine, you’ll ensure you train your abs in the safest and most effective way possible. These are some of the very best exercises that personally helped me regain my core and abdominal strength after giving birth to my daughter.
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These exercises are specifically recommended for postpartum mamas as they are gentle and require no weights.
Note: You may feel anxious to get your core and waist toned again as soon as possible, but it’s important not to rush the process and to not risk injury. It’s best to consult your doctor before beginning any postpartum fitness routine. Most doctors recommend at least 6 weeks of recovery before starting to work your abs again. If you had any complications with pregnancy like C-section or diastasis recti, it may be best to consult with your healthcare provider to learn what movements to avoid for your specific case.
Gentle Postpartum Core Routine
- Complete all exercises as 1 circuit.
- Repeat circuit 3X for a complete core workout.
- Rest 30 sec between circuits or whenever you need a break.
- This workout should be done 2-3 non-consecutive times per week for best results.
Lying Toe Taps | 10 reps, alt sides
- Lie flat on your back and lift your legs up in a tabletop position with toes pointed.
- Contract your abs and think of pulling your belly button towards the ground.
- Keep one leg still while you lower the other to touch the ground.
- Bring that leg back up, pause and then switch to the other side.
Tip: Move slowly and focus on the contractions and on your breath. Take a full inhale with each lowering, and exhale with each lift.
Side-to-Side Heel Touch | 10 reps, alt sides
- Lie flat on your back with your feet planted on the ground about 6 inches from your hips.
- Reach your arms straight by your sides, lifting your shoulders and head off the ground.
- Tilt towards one side as you reach and touch your heel.
- Staying lifted, reach to the other side.
- Continue back and forth reps without resting.
Tip: Exhale as you reach, and inhale as you switch sides.
Bridge Pelvic Tilt | 10 reps
- Start in a bridge position with your arms rested comfortably by your sides.
- Lift your hips up off the ground, but maintain the neutral curve in your spine.
- Tilt your pelvis to thrust your hips up towards the ceiling at the same time as flexing your abs to create a tight waist.
- Tighten all the muscles in your pelvis, core and hips.
- Release by lowering back to the the relaxed/neutral position, then repeat.
Tip: Instead of aiming for maximum height, think about maximum muscle engagement. The goal is to flex all the muscles of the core including the deep pelvic floor muscles.
Figure 4 Cross Crunches | 10 reps
- Lie on your back in a crunch position, with hands behind your head.
- Lightly touch behind your ears to prevent pulling on your neck.
- Cross one heel over the opposite knee, forming a figure 4.
- Crunch up and reach your opposite elbow towards that knee. Be sure to keep that knee in it’s original position and only move from your core.
- Lower back down to the starting position and repeat all reps on one side before switching.
DO: 10 reps from left elbow towards right knee, then take a 30 second break and switch sides. Inhale as you lengthen and exhale as you contract.
(Your Next Workout: Supermom Total-Body Workout with Baby!)