Congratulations! You’ve had a baby … now what? Your body has gone through a lot of changes and you are anxious to return to your regular gym routine and get your post-baby body back in shape. After nine months of extreme change around your midsection, the most important thing you can do is to get back to basics and work on strengthening your core muscles. Not sure what to do, the information outlined below will help you out.
When Can I Start
You can start activating your core muscles right after pregnancy. This may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it will really benefit you.
What Is Your Core
Your core is made up of four muscles that form a cylinder within the body. Its purpose is to provide strength and stability for your lower back as it connects to your pelvis. The cylinder that makes up the core is comprised of four muscles:
- Pelvic floor is the muscle on the bottom,
- Transverse Abdominis wraps around the front of the abdomen,
- Multifidus in the back
- Diaphragm on the top
How Do I Activate My Core
Core activation is achieved by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. It is important to ensure your lower back is in a neutral position, which means you should be able to slide your fingers under the small of your lower back. Place your fingers just inside the front of your pelvic bones and draw your belly button towards your spine without moving your lower back. This activates the Transverse Abdominis. As you do so, you will feel firmness underneath your fingertips. You now want to engage your Pelvic Floor by trying not to pee or pass wind. The Multifidus muscle is already activated by the contraction of the transverse abdominus and pelvic floor. The last muscle is the Diaphragm which is activated by breathing into your tummy. Build up to activating these four muscles together for 60 seconds 5 times a day.
What Exercises Should I Do
When doing core strength exercises, quality of movement is very important.
Starting Position: Core Activation exercise outlined above.
Repetitions: 10-15 times and 1-3 sets
- Bent Knee Fall Outs: Slowly let one knee fall out to the side and then draw it back in, ensuring the pelvis and lower back remain stable.
- Heel Slides: Slowly slide your heal along the floor as you straighten your knee. Draw foot back into starting position while maintaining stability in your lower back and pelvis.
- Table Top: Lift one leg such that your hip is bent 90 degrees and your knee is bent 90 degrees. Return to starting position.
- Bridging: Pushing through your heal lift your hips up such that your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line. Return to starting position.
Consistency is the key to success! Start with the basics, stay consistent, and you will be well on your way to getting your body back. Start now and schedule time in your day to take care of YOU!