Exercise after birth needs to work your abs hard if its going to flatten your tummy… right?
‘I want a really flat tummy, so please can we do some *really hard* ab exercises?”
This is something I get asked a lot.
If you’ve just stared exercising after birth with one of our programs, you’ll be learning that there is a big difference between training your core, and strengthening your core.
You can’t strengthen what hasn’t been trained. Or put another way: Your body can’t strengthen a muscle your brain isn’t talking to.
Your choice of tummy flattening exercise after birth is about quality, not quantity. The reason that doing hundreds of crunches, or trying to hold a plank for a minute or more, or beasting your body in boot-camp hasn’t gotten you a flat tummy after you’ve had babies – is that if your brain (and your heart… I make no apologies if you think that sounds wet – it is vital!) isn’t talking to the right muscles, then the exercises won’t work.
Your body may manage to perform these exercises, making you believe you’re working it effectively. Our bodies are very accommodating – they try terribly hard to do what we ask them to – but it’s doing them at the expense of the tummy you want.
If your core isn’t working correctly before you begin, then what’s actually happening is:
- Intra abdominal pressure forces your rectus (6 pack) and pelvic floor muscles outwards and downwards (worsening any diastasis recti, pelvic floor weakness or pelvic organ prolapse)
- Your hip flexors and your spine take over the work your deep abdominal and pelvic muscles should be doing
- The deep Psoas muscle in your pelvis as well as your knee and hip joints are put under strain and tension causing a host of related problems
- Your alignment (the way your carry your body) shifts – away from optimal – to compensate
So your body may carry you through the workout, but the result will be a body that isn’t functioning optimally, almost definitely pain at some point in the near future.. and notably for the purposes of this post, the exact opposite of the tummy and appearance you were hoping for!
This is where you need to stop, focus and start again.
It’s why you need re-connect, learn to engage correctly, learn to stand, walk, lift and squat correctly and optimally and correctly FIRST. Then and only then, can you start to strengthen and ‘tone’ your abs.
The exercises and techniques that appear the ‘easiest’… Find and Reconnect, the yoga breathing techniques, re-adjusting how you position your pelvis and how you find neutral spine, just visualising the muscles you’re trying to awaken, and connecting with them…THEY are the most important of all! MUTU System is based on the principle that you have to start with the foundations.
Acrobatics on the Swiss ball, a full plank and every *hardcore ab move* you’ve seen – they will make a stable, optimally functioning core strong and flat if performed correctly. But they don’t create an optimally functioning core.
‘Hard’ ab exercises cannot make an unstable core, stable!
START THERE my Lovely. And that flat tummy will be yours :)