Posted on July 6th, 2020 by Caitlyn Miller
When I hit my 3 weeks postpartum, I was itching to workout again! I was wanting to tighten and tone my core and get those muscles firmly back in place. Because of this, I really wanted to focus on doing controlled and stable ab exercises. I quickly started doing research on the best ab exercises for this and for my situation at the time. One key thing is, please do not rush yourself. You know your body and you know what it can handle, DO NOT push your body past that. I especially say this if you are suffering from Diastasis Recti. All of my postpartum mamas out there, you’ve got this and hope these exercises help you feel healthy and confident! I hope all you mamas love these exercise just as much as I do!
Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor and get cleared for ANY physical activity before performing these exercises. Make sure that you have healed and have not experienced any bleeding prior to starting this.
Diastasis recti can either be a partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis, which meets at the midline of your stomach. When this condition is not healed properly, it can cause the rounded, protruding “mom pooch” that people talk about. It takes time to heal diastasis recti and it should NOT be rushed. Your doctor can either tell you that you have it or you can find out yourself. To perform the self-test, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put one hand on your belly, with your fingers on your midline at the navel. Then press your fingertips down gently, and bring your head up in a mini crunch like position. Be sure to keep your shoulders on the ground when doing this. Feel around for the sides of your rectus abdominis muscles, and see how far and if they are separated.
In order to heal this condition properly, there are certain ab exercises you are aloud to do and others that can make it worse. Crunches, planks, and bicycles are a huge NO if you have this condition, they will only make it worse. The exercises I list below are very much Diastasis Recti friendly, so give them a go!
Postpartum Ab Routine
- Complete all exercises as 1 round
- Complete all exercises for 10 repetitions
- Repeat for 3 rounds for a complete workout
- Rest whenever you need a break
- This workout should be done 2-3 times per week for the best results
First, let’s start with my absolute favorite!
Lying Toe Taps
- Lie flat on your back and lift your legs up scooping your butt off the ground, your toes should be pointed.
- Tighten and contract your abs and pull your belly button inward.
- Keep one leg in place while you lower the other to touch the ground.
- Bring that same leg back up, pause and then repeat on the other side.
Bridge Pelvic Tilt
- Start in a basic bridge position with your arms resting by your side.
- Start lifting your hips off the ground, but keeping shoulders on the ground at the same time.
- Tilt your pelvis and thrust your hips upwards, while flexing your abs.
- Be sure to tighten all the muscles in your core.
- Slowly release and lower back to the starting postion and repeat again.
- Start in a kneeling position with your knees and feet hip-width apart, with your feet pointing towards your body.
- Lean forward and place hands on the floor, position them directly under your shoulders and shoulder-width apart with your fingers facing forward.
- Tighten your core and avoid arching your spine.
- Slowly extend one of your legs, while extending the opposite arm. Your head needs to remain aligned with the spine throughout the movement.
- Slowly lower yourself back to your starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
- Lie down on the floor with your legs flat on the floor.
- Slowly begin to slide your heel toward your butt, keeping your heel on the floor.
- Continue to slide your heel until you can feel a little pressure inside your knee.
- Slowly slide your heel back down until it reaches your starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
What are you some of your favorite postpartum ab exercises? Let me know what you think!