Updated: Apr 3, 2019
Possibly the most common question I get as a fitness professional. And being a mom of five, I totally understand the new moms and not so new moms when they come to me with this question. It can feel like a daunting and frustrating task but I’m here to help you understand and learn the ropes! One of the things you need to understand is the fact that your abs are a muscle just like any other. If you have carried a baby, your muscle for 9 months was doing a great thing for you, so be kind to yourself and patient! We will need to work your abs from every angle and modality, and keep in mind you’ll never see those hard earned muscles until you watch what you’re putting into your body as well. But no matter what stage of post pregnancy women come to me in, a very common problem is their lower back pain or experiencing other weakness in their back. To begin your ab journey, we first have to correct your back weakness. One
of the first exercises that I suggest for new moms, or clients with lower back issues, is a Static Bird Dog Hold. On all 4’s, extend one leg straight back, with the opposite arm extended. (see photo below) The important thing with this drill is alignment. I need you to pull your belly button to your spine to create a neutral back, which means I don’t want the curve in your lower back or a lifting in your upper back but rather a nice straight line. Check this by watching yourself in a mirror the first few times you do it. By holding your belly button tight to your spine, you should feel like your back is very supported and you should feel a little shaky trying to hold yourself to a place; if that’s the case, you’re doing it right - great job! Once you can do this Bird Dog for 30 to 40 seconds on either side and that becomes a piece of cake, it’s time to step it up and do Moving Bird Dogs (from that extended position, crunch the knee toward forehead and your elbow toward thigh). Another great drill to help strengthen your lower back is your bridges. Lying face up with your knees bent, feet close to hips on the floor, squeeze your glutes together as you lift your hips to ceiling (be sure to pull belly button to spine especially at the top of this move). Depending on the age of your baby, why not incorporate them into this drill? The baby can sit on your lap, making this a weighted lift, or for more progressive drill, you could do a
press up where you hold your baby up as you lift your hips and as you come down snuggle your baby into you with lots of laughing and smooches. It’s important to build your back before you jump into working those abdomen muscles for the nice flat abs you’re looking for! Your abs will only be as strong as your weakest core link - and for a lot of us - this link is that lower back. So lets dog and bridge away!