After pregnancy and the birth of a child your abdominals and back, referred to in fitness industry as your core, can be left weak and susceptible to injury. A heavy pregnant belly can cause arching and strain on the lower back. Strengthen your core and focusing on proper posture will help you avoid injuries and transform the shape of your body. Using this Mummy Core workout you will feel results immediately. As a beginner give yourself a goal of completing 5 repetitions each side and work your way up to doing 3 sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise. Whether you do 1 or all 6 of the moves, congratulate yourself on becoming a healthier sexier you!
Always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program. Your 6 week postpartum check up must be passed before starting this program. Always have a rectus abdominous check to eliminate any questions of abdominal splitting that may have occurred during pregnancy. If you feel pain or experience spotting at any time during this workout stop immediately and consult your physician.
These amazing crunches can be done with or without an exercise ball. Oblique crunches are great for shaping the waist. Position the small of your back on the ball and bend your knees slightly greater than a 90 degree angle. Lead the crunch with your abs, not you neck. Flex your abs drawing your navel towards your spine and slowly lift your left shoulder across towards your right knee. Hold for a count of two and return to start position. Switch sides and always focus on a slow controlled movement. While performing these exercises remember to always exhale on the execution and to continue breathing.
To do these exercises without a ball lie on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on floor. Flex your ab muscles and lift your shoulders a couple inches off the mat, all the while focusing on maintaining a flat back on the mat.
2. Bicycle crunches
The movement of bicycle crunches helps to tighten the abs while working your whole core region and hips. Begin with your legs into your chest and using your abs lift your shoulders and neck a few inches off the ground. Drop your right leg slowly and bring it back to the starting position. Switch sides. Hold the crunch through the repetitions and you will feel the excellent workout for your abs. Pause and be proud of what you have already accomplished.
3. Oblique side raises
Roll over onto your side and get ready for a new favorite. Begin with your elbow directly under your shoulder at a 90 degree angle. Knees should be at a 45 degree angle. While exhaling, use your abs and lift your hips off the ground. Your spine and hip should be in a straight line with your legs. Do not over lift as this could jeopardize your back. Hold for a count of two and release. Repeat and switch sides.
Prepare yourself for the ultimate core strengthener and full body isometric move. Begin as if you were to do a push up. On your exhalation, lift your body and with your abs, move into a straight position to hold for a count of 10, release. Remember to continue breathing and preserve that straight back by holding your abs in strongly. For a modification, instead of a straight arm, rest on your elbows at a 90 degree angle.
5. Kick Backs
This one is great for strengthening a weak postpartum back. Begin on your hands and knees. Hands under your shoulders knees under your hips. On your exhalation, lift your right hand and left leg simultaneously until they are parallel to your spine. Focus on maintaining a straight back. Hold for a count of two and return to the start position. Switch sides. A bonus feature of this move will be the awesome workout it gives your gluts at the same time.
6. Cat Stretch
It is very important to start and finish every workout with a good stretch because flexibility will also help you avoid injury. Begin on your hands and knees. Your spine should be in straight and neutral position. On your exhalation, slowly draw up your spine, suck in your belly and relax your head down. Inhale and return back to neutral, eyes relaxed and looking forward. Repeat motion in a slow controlled manor.
Allow yourself a couple of extra minutes to perform more stretches and focus on your breathing. This will help you to relax and get ready for the physical exertion of being a mother.
Don’t forget your lower abdominal wall! Training these muscles is extremely important to having a strong core and eliminate loss of bladder control after labour and pregnancy. To learn how to perform a Kegel exercise, practice the first time while urinating. Flex your lower abdominal muscles to stop the stream and then release. You have just targeted your lower abdominal wall. It is very important that you do not continue to do Kegels during urination as the starting and stopping can introduce bacteria into your system and cause infections.
Mummy Tip: Remember to do your Kegels daily by doing them while driving or washing dishes. Make 24 Kegels a day your goal. You’ll be happy you did the day you sneeze in public!