I was in an advanced Pilates class this morning, the girl next to me told the instructor she had a baby 3 months ago. She was barely able to hold any of the moves. This is why…
Womens body change after birth… posture, some develop abdominal separation(left) where core muscles are not connecting anymore. The body will compensate in other ways so we need to restore the core connection and educate the mother how to move, carry, lift and build strength.
We all get caught up in the moment, stressed and forget about our breathing, we take it for granted that we just do it. Breathing is essential to exercising effectively it drives activation of the pelvic floor and the deepest abdominal muscles that wraps around the spine and is fundamental to post natal recovery and restoring the connective tissue in the belly. When the core unit is activated correctly and working synergistically as a global unit we can then add load and tension pain free.
Post natal exercise is about educating mothers to reconnect with their body and given the right tools, its the path to pre-baby body.
Here are just a couple of examples to get you started…
Start in standing position, Lean on a fitball (or a small stability ball), arms by your thighs. Inhale to lower by squating (ensure your knees sit just behind your toes) applying even weight down your heels and raise the arms. Hold in this position for 3 seconds and slowly exhale back to standing, drawing your pelvic floor up and naval towards your coccyx. 12 reps. 3 sets.
Superman leg extension
Starting position on all fours. Place hands parallel to shoulders and knees to hips. Now inhale to prepare and exhale to extend the right leg. Keep pelvis square to the ground, avoid shifting weight to the left or flexing the lower back. Engage the pelvic floor and core muscles to support stability with this movement. Ensure there is a gap between your knees on the lift and return. Alternate legs. 12 reps each leg. 3 sets.
Single Leg Taps
Begin on your back, neutral spine, feet hip width apart and knees bent. Inhale to prepare, on the exhale draw your pelvic floor upwards and naval towards coccyx as you raise your left leg. Hold for 3 seconds. Inhale at the top and exhale to lower slowly. Ensure the back isn’t arching on the lift, watch your belly draw inwards as you exhale. To really feel the core muscles activated ensure your raise the knee to 45 degrees. Alternate legs. 12 reps. 3 sets.
Wide Plie Squat with Upright Row
Begin with legs in a wide lie, raise your arms into an upright row. Inhale as you squat, steadily lowering the arms towards the matt. Here (if you can) raise the heels. Take a breath in, on the exhale, drive up through the balls of your feet(keeping heels up), drawing pelvic floor up and squeezing glutes until you reach starting position. Ensure the elbows are level with shoulders on the lift and knees sit behind your toes. Keep chest open and shoulders down. 12 reps. 3 sets.
Post natal recovery is a process, don’t just go and smash it in a HIIT(high intensity interval training) session, you could cause more damage than good. Be kind to your body, always remember your pelvic floor and core muscles with everyday functional moves. Every little counts!!! Take time to stretch and massage too.
If you have any questions or tips you’d like to share we’d love to hear from you!