3 AB Exercises Every Mom Should Do After Giving Birth

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Three of the best ab exercises that every mom should do after giving birth. These post-pregnancy ab exercises will strengthen and tone your stomach and help you flatten your "mommy tummy".
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There's no way to sugarcoat it - pregnancy is a battle. Between the aches and pains, swollen body parts, cravings, nausea, weight gain and overall general discomfort - they're not kidding when they call it "the miracle of childbirth"!
Among those symptoms mentioned above, one area that undergoes the greatest stress during this time is your abdomen. On average, you'll gain about 1 centimeter per week between your pubic bone and the top of your uterus. That's up to 40 centimeters (almost 16 inches) over the course of a "full term" pregnancy!
Your abdominal muscles get so stretched and distended during this time - it's no wonder that reactivating them after pregnancy can be a little bit of an uphill battle. You may have even developed a "diastasis recti" (DR) condition (as is common in up to 60% of pregnancies) where your front abdominal muscle actually splits under the pressure.
Rehabbing your stomach muscles after your pregnancy is a great way to increase core strength, minimize injury risk, and even heal up this diastasis condition.
Unfortunately, the majority of ladies I've had the chance to work with go about it the wrong way (STOP doing sit-ups and crunches!). It's important that you activate and work with RIGHT core muscles while AVOIDING contracting the wrong muscles in order to see the results you desire.
That's why today I wanted to share with you three of the best post-pregnancy ab exercises every mom should do after giving birth. These exercises focus on activating the right muscles while avoiding contracting the wrong muscles in order to maximize your gains while minimizing your injury potential.
START WORKING OUT THE RIGHT MUSCLE
The best post-pregnancy ab exercises are those that activate your deepest abdominal layer, the transverse abdominis (TA). This muscle runs from your lower back around your sides and connects into this same connective tissue that has been separated with the diastasis recti.
The TA muscle's primary action is to "suck everything in" and pull your belly button in towards your spine. Activating this muscle and performing this motion will help trim down your waistline, hold "everything" in tight, and even minimize the DR gap.
THREE AB EXERCISES EVERY MOM SHOULD DO AFTER GIVING BIRTH
PLEASE SEE THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR DEMONSTRATION ON HOW TO PERFORM EACH OF THESE CORRECTLY
1. Stomach vacuums: "Stomach vacuums" is the simple way to say "transverse abdominis contraction". They are the primary core exercise you should focus on and you should try to include this contraction in every core exercise you do post pregnancy.
2. Dying bugs: Building on our stomach vacuums, "dying bugs" are a great way to activate a ton of abdominal muscles without moving the trunk through aggressive motion. Remember to keep your stomach "vacuumed" in!
3. Side planks: Side planks are a great exercise to work the obliques (lateral abdominal muscles) while not stressing the anterior abdominal muscle (rectus abdominis). You should still focus on activating your TA with a stomach vacuum while holding this contraction, although you may find it a little more challenging as we're now in a position where gravity acts on it a little more.
When talking about post-pregnancy ab rehab, it's vital that we activate the RIGHT muscles in the RIGHT way whilst avoiding working the WRONG muscles. This is the key to not only healing your postpartum abs, but increasing your core strength, eliminating "mommy's tummy", and helping you to live a healthier, more active life!
Jared Beckstrand, PT, DPT is a husband, father of four, and doctor of physical therapy. He specializes in the management of orthopedic issues and post-pregnancy rehabilitation. He is the owner/founder of the website .
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