Ab Exercises for New Moms
If you are concerned about the condition of your tummy after your baby is born, don't worry; you are definitely not alone. Our stomachs bear the brunt of the myriad of changes and trials that our bodies are put through, and therefore, we notice it the most. So how do we take those first steps towards trimming the flab?
First step – talk to your doctor. On occasion, during birth, your abdominal muscles may split down the middle, and you need to give your muscles time to knit themselves back together. Otherwise, as long as you go slowly, you should be fine. If ever you feel a sharp pain or discomfort, you may want to take a few days off.
Now get yourself ready – find a soft place to lie down, such as a plush carpet or an exercise mat. Set aside a few minutes each day to do your abdominal exercises, and you will soon see a noticeable difference in the mirror and on the scale.
Phase One: Crunch and Hold
Yes, the good old crunch with a small modification. While this is probably everyone's least favorite exercise, it is great for toning your abs and is easily adjusted to suit different fitness levels. Start out by lying on your back with your legs up straight in the air. Gently place your hands behind your head with your elbows on or near the floor. Contract your muscles, and lift your head and shoulders off the floor keeping your elbows parallel with your ears. Don't push it; as soon as you feel it in your abs, stop. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Begin by repeating the exercise 5 times. As your abdominal muscles become stronger, you should increase the number of repetitions up to 10 times.
As your abs start to get stronger, you will be able to lift your shoulders higher, but ensure your lower back remains on the floor. To target different muscle groups, try raising your left shoulder off the floor; then reach your left hand toward your right ankle and vice versa. By changing your routine, you target all of your abdominal muscles and keep it from getting boring.
Phase Two: Leg Raises
One you have developed a good base for your stomach muscles, you can start to expand your regime to increase the effectiveness. Leg raises let you target all muscle groups in the abdomen, and you can vary the leg raises to keep it interesting.
Lay on your back with your legs slightly bent and arms out to the side in a T position. Slowly raise your legs off the ground by 6 inches while pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, and then lower your legs back down. Repeat this 10 times. When you can manage this easily, you can start varying the routine. Try holding your legs off the ground and doing crossovers, scissors, or a bicycle kick. After a couple months of practice, see if you can do the whole routine at once and combine it with your crunches for an ab-blasting experience.