How do I flatten my abs after I've had a baby?
A question I most often get asked and one which takes a while to answer - it's a combination of the right kind of exercise, top abs exercises to strengthen and good nutrition!
To provide you with all the information would mean righting a mini booklet, but one of the best tips is here, to get you started onto the path to a flatter tummy, mummy.
Top exercise for strengthening, toning and stabilising your ‘core’.
The Plank is a very effective exercise for Mums. It strengthens and stabilises the entire core region, as pregnancy and childbirth have had a dramatic effect both de-stabilising and weakening the ‘core’ muscles.
The core muscles are all the muscles of your mid section - the obliques (side stomach muscles or “love handles”), stomach and lower back, along with muscles in your mid section and muscles in your back and around the spine.
Good technique is crucial when you perform the plank – you need to do it properly in order to exercise the correct muscles and avoid any pain or harm to your lower back.
So here’s my ‘how to guide’ to The Plank. I’ve provided 2 variations here. Level 1, the basic position (good if you are 6 weeks post natal – with a C-section or vaginal birth.
Level 1: The Elbow/Knee Plank
➢ Start on the floor and balance on your knees and elbows, with your upper body torso about 6 to 8 inches from the floor.
➢ Hold your torso, neck and head in a straight line by looking directly towards at your clasped hands without dropping the head.
➢ Tighten your abdominal muscles.
➢ You want to build up to holding this static position for 30 seconds, keeping your body parallel to the ground with 30-60 secs rest in between. Repeat x 3.
➢ When you rest, you can assume the ‘child’s pose position – pushing you bottom back to your heels and forehead to the floor.
➢ Align your head and entire spine straight
➢ Dropping the head
➢ Drooping the lower back
➢ Sticking the hips up too high
Once you have mastered this position, you can challenge your muscles by moving to Level 2
Level 2: The Elbow/Toe Planks
➢ Start face down on a mat balancing so your body weight is evenly distributed between your elbows and toes.
➢ Keep your abdominals held tight to support the lower back
➢ Your body should be in a straight line from the shoulders down to the toes.
➢ Keep head inn line with spine by looking directly at your clasped hands.
➢ Build up to being able to hold this static position for 30 seconds with 30-60 secs rest or stretch ‘child’s pose’ and repeat x 3.
➢ There should be a slight curve in your lower spine – without sticking the hips to high or completely flattening your lower back.
➢ If you perform this exercise sideways to a mirror you can check your bodies alignment.
➢ Letting your hips to sag
➢ Sticking your hips too high – highing than shoulders