Having a baby is such a wonderful experience, but sometimes we are left cringing at what we see in the mirror when we do not recognize ourselves. No postpartum body is the exact same-some women may bounce back perfectly while others generally require a good bit of time. After all, your body did take up to 40 weeks to change, stretch, and grow! Don't worry though-with time and hard work, you can get your sexy back in no time.
The best and number one thing that you can do for your postpartum body is to start a clean eating regimen by staying away from sweets, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. Practicing perfect posture and walking can do amazing things for your postpartum body as well! Unfortunately, there is no way to spot reduce your mommy tummy, but you can wake up those dormant Transverse Abdominus muscles to help flatten your tummy pouch.
Your transverse abdominal muscle, or TA, is the most neglected muscle in your abdomen. They are the deepest core muscles and they form a natural girdle to support your entire middle section. Their main function is to stabilize your spine. They help to keep your organs in place, while putting pressure onto your abdomen. The development of the transverse muscles helps to tone and flatten your belly.
You also can try wearing a postpartum girdle to support those muscles to get the same effect and to shrink your uterus back to its original size. Girdles also help heal diastasis recti; a condition in some postpartum women that involves the separation of the rectus abdominus muscle into right and left halves. However, there are some exercises that can help build those muscles back up from going dormant for so long.
Please note: If you have diastasis recti or think you may have it, consult with your doctor first and foremost before following any type of exercise regimen or performing the following exercises.
Here are 4 abdominal moves to help activate those deep core muscles:
- Start off on a yoga mat in the pushup position. Starting with the pushup position is the easiest way to get into the plank.
- Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your palms should be balled up, and directly underneath your shoulders.
- Curl your toes under and engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button toward your spine.
- Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral. Imagine that you’re a plank of wood, and that you’re straight as an arrow.
- Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes. These are the two major muscle groups you’ll be working out in this exercise.
- Hold this position, also known as the plank, until after the burning begins. Keep your eyes on the floor in front of you. Avoid raising your behind. Your body should make a straight line from your heels to the back of your head.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you. If you feel uncomfortable, try lying on carpet or on a yoga mat. If you have back problems, fold a towel and put it under the curve of your back, just above your hips. Keep your hands flat down on the ground.
- Bend your legs and raise them, keeping your toes pointed. Your thighs should be perpendicular to your body, while your shins are parallel.
- Straighten your legs so that they’re pointed at the ceiling. Keep your toes pointed. For a harder workout, skip Step 2 and slowly raise your legs to the ceiling without bending them.
- Slowly lower your legs to about an inch off the floor. Don’t just let gravity work for your – make sure you’re in control. If the exercise feels too easy, try to lower more slowly.
- Slowly raise your legs back up to the ceiling.
- Repeat 5 times, then rest for 30 seconds. Try to do 3 sets for now – you can add more later on.
Reverse Ab Curls
- Lie flat on your back with both hands behind your head, legs extended out with your heels lifted about six inches off the floor, toes pointed.
- Contract your abs, bend and draw your knees into your chest, and raise your hips slightly off the floor.
- Slowly lower back to the start position.
- Repeat 8 times, for 3 sets total.
- Raise both legs toward the ceiling.
- Keeping them straight, lower your left leg until it’s about six inches off the floor.
- Lift your head and shoulders off the floor and grasp the back of your right leg, gently pulling it toward you.
- Switch legs and repeat on other side.
- Quickly complete 10 reps (no pausing!).