Every thinks to have a lean tight stomach they need to crunch their life away. Nothing could be more false especially during pregnancy and right after. Now I believe in ab exercises BUT I think people forget that we need to tighten the internal abs muscles during and after a baby. Even years after kids its important to work these muscles. Most people focus on the 6 pack and obliques and ignore the inner transverse muscles and the pelvic floor. In fact too much intra abdominal pressure in the core can cause Diastasis or irritate it to ake it worse. (See Recti Diastasis- Avoiding the Mommy Pooch. ) Another issue when when the rectus abdominals is always held tight WITHOUT working the traverse and pelvic floor it creates dysfunction aka frequent urination, lower back pain, pooched core, and urinary incontinence. During pregnancy and postpartum this is a common problem
After the twins I had poor bladder control while exercising. Jumping jacks and tuck jumps were my worse enemy. I also avoided drinking water before teaching classes at night so I didn’t have to leave class to use the bathroom. NOW even just four weeks after having baby Camry its already better than before because of all the TA and pelvic floor work I did.
You are going to see these breathing techniques and think they are silly and do not work. But push your doubts a side a try them. I learned them all at Women’s Wellness Physical therapy I did during pregnancy.And I swear by them for making labor and deliver so much easier!
Due to my high level of activity I was discouraged with my bladder and Diastasis issues so I went in for help. I thought they were silly at first too but as I started them I saw my bladder control improve right away and now post baby my core is recovering much better than my last pregnancy. I have already reduced my DR to a 1 finger gap and with the twins I was close to three fingers so—-I AM A BELIEVER!
If you want better bladder control (Yes moms I am talking to you its possible) and a flatter stomach stick with me and do these few things. You wont get a flat stomach with JUST these exercises though either. You need to eat right and move your body. If its been years since you had a baby you can still imrpove your core but you will not get the stomach you want without TA work! And if your fresh off having a baby or are trying to heal DR avoid any exercise in which your stomach bulges in the middle work on these techniques and strength your core through side planks, reverse planks, and bridges.
Also huge factor is your posture make sure you do not have an anterior tilt when standing (Shown and explained in how to Avoid the Mommy Pooch post)
Here is a video doing it while pregnant. Its really easy to see my lower stomach wrapping in first. It is simalar to givig the baby an internal hug.
Now its harder to see but if you look in a mirror the bottom part of your stomach will pull in before the top.
TA Contractions (Belly Suckers- Diaphragmatic breathing)
1-While on your back bring your knees up
4- Breath in through your nose and fill your belly and ribs with air while relaxing your pelvic floor.
3- Start ti exhale with an SSSSSS breath. Right as the S breath come off your lips lift your pelvic floor and start to wrap your Tva muscle sin from the bottom up. Simailr to zipping up a tight coat. You can also imagine a corset cinching up.
NOTE: Your stomach should flatten, not bulge, as you exhale.Relax and repeat. Dont forget the relax is just as important so inhale slowly and than repeat.
TVA is not the same as suckig in! This video will help explain the difference as well!
TVA and Pelvic Floor Exercises:
3 simple exercises to start with
Heel Slides: Lay on your back and complete your TVA breathing lifting your PF and wrapping your TVA in. Slowly slide out one leg at a time putting pressure agaisnt the floor and than dragging it back while keeping your core engaged. You can relax and reengage your core with each rep or go for a few reps if you can keep the contraction in for the full range of motion.You can also work on Heel slides with your TA pulled in sitting on an exercise ball and slide your feet out and in one at a time. Two sets of 10 reps
Pelvic Tilt: Lay on your back with your knees bent. Start with your pelvis tilted so your lower back against the ground and your pelvis is tilted toward the roof. Try to bring your belly button to your backbone as you push your low back down against the floor . As you bring your hips down exhale and tighten your core. Hold for 5 seconds, inhale, and relax. 10 reps
Knee drops: While lying on your back with your knees bent. Complete your TVA breathing lifting your PF and wrapping your TVA in. Drop one knee at a time to the side without twisting your hips to bring the knee to the side. 10 reps on each leg.You can relax and reengage your core with each rep or go for a few reps if you can keep the contraction in for the full range of motion
Pelvic Floor (Straw Pulls)
This vido will help you find and learn o work your pelvic floor!
Preform this lift 10 quick lifts of the PF and than 10 holds(Hold 2-5 seconds) once your PF is lifted
Here are to more views of the breathing at 6 weeks postpartum standing and lifting weights