I feel that after having 2 kids I have some experience with abdominal training when it’s the worst situation for your body (if you’ve had kids you know what I’m saying!). Before my first pregnancy I worked my abs hard to get them flat and “cut.” Then after having a baby you look at your stomach and just wonder if you’ve lost hope forever. Well, there is! I really, really promise! Let me make an outline of what I personally have discovered about regaining abdominal strength and reducing the belly “pooch”.
#1 Check the Abs
Checking for Diastasis Recti is extremely important. This is the absolute FOUNDATION of getting a flat tummy. You check by laying on your back with your legs bent, feet on the floor. Then you put your finger just above your belly button. Lift your head up off the floor towards the ceiling and blow out. If your finger sink into your tummy like a hole then you have a split. Over 90% of women have some sort of split after pregnancy….so it’s likely you have it. See how many fingers you can fit into the “hole” and that’s how you measure the distance of your rectus abdominis (part of your abs) is apart.
#2 Bring the Abs back together with…
Tupler Technique: Sit with your back against a wall and suck in your tummy. Keep breathing but have it sucked in as far as you can go. Count to 30 (30 seconds) and release. Do again. Repeat 10 times a day. You can also suck in and let go for about a second at a time. Do 50-100 of these 5 times. These actions help bring the rectus abdominis back together and reduce the split which looks like a mummy tummy.
The Tuck: Lay on your back and bring your feet on the floor like you’re going to check your diastasis. Instead bring your back flat to the floor and suck in your tummy. Hold for a few seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times. This also helps bring the muscles back together.
Cat: Stand up or get on all fours and bend over with your back parallel with the ground. Put your hands on your legs and round your back up like a cat stretching then bring it down flat again parallel with the ground. Make sure to suck in your abs when you lift your back up. Do 5-10
Check your diastasis periodically to see progress.
#3 Once your split is back together then start getting into more intense exercises. Here are a few of my favorites without doing sit ups and splitting again.
Standing side crunch
Forward Standing Crunch
If you are a mom with a tummy that discourages you remember that it takes time. During pregnancy women usually increase their body fat by 5-10%. That’s a lot so don’t be surprised when you have a belly pooch. Especially after delivery with breastfeeding, your body feeds off that extra body fat for food for your baby. Until you are completely done breastfeeding you will probably keep a little more fat on your body and that’s ok. Plus, you normally only lose 1/2-2% of body fat a month (2% is very high for one month). So you see that it takes time to get back!
The belly will get better with clean eating, bringing the diastasis back together, weight training, and ab exercises such as these. Stay on the look out for more ab exercises that aren’t your traditional sit-ups because I have a bunch up my sleeve that I really enjoy 🙂 Keep up the hard work!