Your body changes in a lot of ways during and post-pregnancy, but one of the major changes happens to your abdominal for, you know, obvious reasons like it had to expand to accommodate a baby. Strengthening your core postpartum can help you avoid issues like leaky bladder and lower back pain. That said, it’s important to be gentle with your body. This workout from fitness trainer Rahel Ghebremichael is a low-impact way to build core strength.
“Think about doing the work from the inside out,” says Ghebremichael. Meaning: really focus on doing the movements from your core, and don’t speed through the reps. “We’re gonna take it nice and slow, and focus on your form,” she says. “Really just focus on strengthening your core to use it as a unit. Especially after kids, it’s super super important that you just focus on getting your engagement together.”
The series involves four movements, done for 12 reps, and repeated twice. Ghebremmichael says that they look deceptively easy—so really focus on moving slowly, engaging your core, and you’ll feel results. As with everything pregnancy-related, check out that you’re all clear to work out with your doctor before starting anything new. And then watch the Ghebremichael’s post-natal core workout above, and check out a breakdown of the movements below.
Post-natal core workout
1. Heel slide: Lie down on your back and let your hands rest by your sides, keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Bend your knees and plant your feet on the ground. Make sure your knees are hip-distance apart. Tilt your pelvis up. Slide your heel out, keeping your pelvis tilted and your lower back on the ground. Do twelve reps, then repeat on the other side.
2. Bridge: Return to your starting position. Press into the mat and lift your hips off the ground. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Bring your hips down so that they hover just above the ground. Do 12 reps.
3. Heel tap: Return to your starting position. With your knees bent, lift your feet in the air. Your calves should be parallel to the ground. Slowly lower one leg down, keeping your knees bent. Go down as far as is comfortable, and make sure your lower back doesn’t lift off the ground. Pull your leg back in. Do 12 reps, then repeat on the other side.
4. Crunch with towel: Grab a towel or scarf. Lightly twist it, then place it underneath your back and slowly lower yourself to the ground. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Make an “X” with your towel over your abdomen. Tuck your chin towards your chest and come up into a crunch as you exhale. As you come up, pull on your towel. Do 12 reps.
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