Contributed by FPC instructor and mama of 2, Carolyn Talents and founder of CLT Wellness
Congrats new mama! Hopefully you are home resting and recovering with your new little one, and if you’re like me, after a few weeks you may start getting antsy to work out again. While you should wait until your 6-week clearance from your OBGYN to begin any real fitness activity, there are a few strengthening exercises that are generally safe to do the first few weeks to start to rehabilitate your body post-baby.
The first thing to focus on when you feel ready to start moving is the core, and specifically the Transverse Abdominis – your inner most layer of ab muscle that acts as a corset, wrapping all the way from the back to the front of the body and is responsible for stabilizing the spine, holding your organs (and your baby if pregnant) in place and taking the pressure off of your more superficial abs, known as the Rectus Abdominis or your “6-pack” abs.
I recommend avoiding traditional ab work such as planks and crunches for the first few months as it puts too much pressure on the outer abs and puts you at risk for Diastasis, so be patient with yourself and start slow and steady – your body will thank you!
Here are 5 moves to get you started:
*Check out the attached links to watch Carolyn and adorable, cooing baby Max demonstrate!
1) Core Breathing Belly Pump (aka the FPC Pump & Kegel):
Start in the all 4’s position (or lying on your back if you prefer). Take a deep, diaphragmatic inhale, filling your lower ribcage and belly with breath, rather than filling your upper chest. On the exhale, contract your pelvic floor in a kegel, and imagine that corset around your midsection is tightening and zipping up from your pubic bone to your ribcage.
Feel the abs below your belly button contract as if your hip bones were moving to meet each other, then feel the abs around your belly button contract toward the midline, and finally your upper abs just under your ribcage. You should feel your whole abdominal wall wrapping inwards and pulling up toward your spine.
In the all 4’s position, start with the core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, extend your right arm forward and left leg behind. Lower your limbs and inhale. Repeat on opposite side.
3) Lateral bird-dog: In the all 4’s position, start with the core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, extend your opposite arm/opposite leg laterally out to the side a few inches. Lower your limbs and inhale. Repeat on opposite side.
4) Heel slides: Start on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Begin your core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, slowly slide your left heel forward on the floor until your left leg is straight. Pull your leg back in as you inhale and repeat on the opposite side.
5) Marches: Start on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Begin your core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, lift your right knee up as if you were marching. Lower your knee back down and inhale. Repeat on the opposite side.
If you are in the NYC area, we invite you to come to Rehab as soon as you can post birth. It’s not a workout. No doctor clearance is needed. We’ll give you all the information you need to know about your postpartum healing and we’ll teach you how to assess your core, pelvic floor and break down how to manage the first few weeks of motherhood (lifting, carrying, lowering, strechting, etc) with less pain. Rehab is every Wednesday at 12PM (babies are welcome) and it’s always free.
Check out our class schedule HERE