HOW TO HEAL YOUR MOMMY TUMMY – THE SECRET TO FLATTER ABS AFTER BABY

Ali Handley, from Bodylove Pilates, takes you through some simple exercises to help heal your mommy tummy and get your stomach back to it’s pre-baby self!

You’ve had a baby but no matter how much post baby weight you lose you cannot get rid of your mommy tummy and your low back continues to aches. Why? The answer is simple – that low belly pooch you call you your mommy tummy has nothing to do with weight, it is in fact caused by a condition called Diastasis Recti. Diastasis Recti is the separation of the outer abdominal muscles known as the 6 pack, which occurs over the course of your pregnancy as your baby and belly grows. It’s crucial  that you work safely to close the separation and the big news is this – no crunches necessary. Crunches are actually a big no no if you want to heal the Diastasis, lose the mommy tummy & constant back pain. The best moves are done with little or no movement. You need to find a mind body connection to your deep core muscles that pull the abs closer together, flattening the belly & cinching the waist! The deep core muscles you need to strengthen is a corset like muscle called the Transverse Abdominus (TVA) and the Pelvic Floor muscles (PFM).

Here are my top moves & tips to help you lose your Mommy Tummy & heal your Diastasis Recti!

Belly Button to Spine

SET-UP – Get seated comfortably in neutral – on a physioball, yoga block, household chair – just make sure your weight is evenly distributed on your sitting bones.

INSTRUCTIONS

INHALE – through your nose and allow your belly to fill up with air and your stomach muscles to completely relax.

EXHALE – a long, slow, even breath out your mouth as you imagine your TVA wrapping around your mid-section, pulling your belly button in all the way to the spine, knitting the two sides of the abs together.

Rep – 20

TIP – Grab a scarf that is long enough to wrap around your waist. With the scarf wrapped around your back, pass each end of the scarf into the opposite hand, with the scarf crossing at your belly button. As you exhale and imagine pulling your belly button to your spine, pull each end the scarf out to the sides, effectively cinching your waist. This is called Splinting and can help you feel the connection a lot more.

TVA Counting

SET-UP – On All Fours – wrists under shoulders, knees & hips and spine & pelvis in neutral.

INSTRUCTIONS

INHALE – through your nose and allow your belly to fill up with air and your stomach muscles to completely relax down toward the ground

EXHALE – a long, slow, even breath out your mouth as you imagine your TVA wrapping around your midsection, pulling your bellybutton in all the way to the spine – keep your belly button on your spine and begin to count out loud. Start by counting to 10 and build to 25.

TIP – Make sure you are taking little sips of air as you count & maintain ab activation. Holding your breath creates tension in the body and strain on the organs.

Heel Slide

SET-UP – Lie on your back with your knees bent and find a neutral position of your pelvis by placing the heel of your hands on your hip bones and your middle fingers reaching toward your pubic bone. You want these three points to be in line with each other.

INSTRUCTIONS

INHALE – through your nose and allow your belly to fill up with air, point your toes and extend your leg out along the mat until it is straight.

EXHALE – a long, slow and even breath out your mouth as you first feel the wrap if your TVA around your midsection stabilizing the pelvis in the neutral position, next flex your foot and slide your heel back in along the mat but do not let anything else move. It’s easy to hike the hip as you bring the leg back in but make sure you resist this and do the move very slow and focused.

REPS – 8 each leg

CHALLENGE – When the leg is extended use your next exhale to hover the leg up of the ground without losing pelvis stability & abdominal connection. Keep pulling the belly button into the spine and thinking about the leg reaching away as it lifts to stay out of the hip flexors. Try 8 leg lifts at the end of the series for each side.

Pelvic Tilt

SET-UP – Lie on your back with your knees bent and find a neutral position of your pelvis by placing the heel of your hands on your hip bones and your middle fingers reaching toward your pubic bone. You want these three points to be in line with each other.

INSTRUCTIONS

INHALE – through your nose and feel your ribcage expand out and up to the sides.

EXHALE – a long, slow, breath out your mouth, feeling first your pelvic floor lift, next your TVA knits together and oblique and 6 pack also activating to hollow out your low abs and gently rock your pelvis back off your sitting bones – creating a small C shape between your belly button & pubic bone.

INHALE – again and gently rock back to the start position by lengthening the pubic bone way from the belly button.

Reps – 15

CHALLENGE – Maintain the pelvic tilt and add a head float. This is not a crunch, the range of motion is small. You must maintain the belly button to spine connection and pelvic tilt and on the next exhale you nod your chin and float the head and tops of the shoulders up. Reps 8

Bridging

SET UP – On your back, pelvis & spine in neutral. Knees are bent, feet are parallel and in line with the sitting bones.

INSTRUCTIONS

INHALE – through your nose  and prepare for the movement.

EXHALE  – out your mouth and first feel your pelvic floor lift, your belly button pull into your spine to gently tilt the pelvis back to connect ribs and hips. Maintain this connection and slowly articulate the spine as you peel the pelvis up.

INHALE – again through your nose and maintain the hip lift and deep core wrapping.

EXHALE – again out your mouth and slowly articulate the spine back down vertebrae by vertebrae..

REPS – 15

TIP – Don’t allow the ribs to flare as you come up in the bridge. Imagine the front ribs staying knitted together throughout the exercises.

CREDITS