The Core Problem
So on twitter today, this male trainer was all braggy about how his fitness programs help women avoid the abdominal gap during pregnancy by standing with good posture (define ‘good posture’), avoiding pushups (!), overhead press (!), planks (!) and – get this – avoiding multiple pregnancies!! So ladies, if you train with this guy, each of you gets only one child AND you’ll be treated like an invalid during that one pregnancy! Awesome!
He’s not alone. I hear about all kinds of miracle-workers in my field. But let me tell you something:
EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN WITH A BABY BUMP HAS AN ABDOMINAL SPLIT. PERIOD.
Yes, that split varies widely. But abdominals must soften and relax away from the linea alba to make room for the growing fetus. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is selling crazy and you should run, not walk, far far away.
HOWEVER, if you’re trying to close the gap post-childbirth, there are many exercises you can do…beginning 24 hours after giving birth! Let me break it down for you:
- Begin with simple core engagement, drawing your navel to spine. Try to imagine your hip bones coming towards each other while simultaneously drawing your ribs together, too. Perform for 10 seconds and release.
- Perform 50 kegels daily.
- Be sure to stretch those posture muscles!
- Once your doctor gives you the green light, incorporate the following exercises into your strength program: 20 hip bridges, 3-4 10sec elbow planks and 10 alternating quad-peds.
Now that’s just the beginning. Listen to your body and progress from there!