Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
I just lifted this straight from my Post-Natal manual, and stuck in a couple of minor amendments, as I get asked this question a lot by people outside of the Edinburgh area and I can’t just pop round to London or New York for an hour’s worth of free PT (Pay me for it and I’ll be there in a shot 😉 )
I’ll tell you what we don’t want to do if we are trying to get a flatter belly and fix your separation early after giving birth: crunches, sit-ups, planks etc.
No, just no.
Effective postnatal core training doesn’t look like common abdominal training at all.
Now it can be quite tricky to wrap your head around this but the best post-natal core exercises don’t feel like they’re working your abs at all, at least not in the classic “Oh, my stomach is killing me after all those crunches” sort of way.
Here’s some general advice for those who’ve had a pregnancy without complications and a relatively straight forward labour;
You really want to focus on your hamstrings, glutes and upper-back, this will help tremendously with your posture and get your core activating properly.
Of course there has to be some specific core training if you have Diastasis Recti but that’s not done by doing the crunches you might see in abs-classes. Any specific core training should mainly focus on your obliques.
The full-body exercises planned into a good post-natal program will cover all the areas of your core that need strengthening up.
A simple stepup works the glutes, core and hamstrings.
It’s the small things that make a big difference. Even if you train 3 hours a week you still have 165 that you’re not. If you manage to do some little things differently in your daily life then you’ll find your postpartum belly will start to flatten out quite quickly and that gap that you might have starts to dissapear.
One of the things I keep telling my clients is to pretend their fly is open. When you tell someone their fly is open they immediately pull their pelvis in and their ribs will be over their hips. This means your core will immediately tighten up in a proper way.
Check the side view as that shows what I mean.
Focus on your breathing, what I get all my ladies to practise is something called the “core breath”. It’s very straightforward but definitely not easy and you should breathe this way though every exercise you do. Sometimes you inhale and exhale faster than other times but the order in which your muscles contract stays the same; bottom to top. You want to start moving from your pelvic floor when you breathe. It sounds a bit funny at first but you’ll get it when I take you through it and it will make all the difference.
Just an example of a well-executed corebreath, there are many versions of it and you can do it lying down as well.
Remember don’t overdo it; you can’t go back into full training straight after giving birth, or even after that stupid 6 week check-up.
You have to retrain your body first, it’s not been functioning like a “normal”, non-pregnant, body for a while and certain muscles will have been relaxing, stretching and switching off for quite a while.
Let’s get all the muscles fired up again first, then you can get back into training like a pro.
Credit for the posture pic. Check out posturecorrector.com,they have some great products that might be useful for people really struggling with their posture.