To be able to target “mommy tummy,” you need to understand what’s in behind it. First let’s review a bit of the science part of your abs. The transverse abdominis, referred to as “the corset” in pilates, or the “spanx” of your core, is the deepest of them from the belly button up to the rib cage. Below the rib cage, the transverse switches with the rectus abdominis which moves behind the transverse to attach to the pubic bone.
The development of the transverse muscles helps to tone and flatten your belly.
Wearing a belly band or girdle post-birth will help shrink your uterus and hold your core together in those first weeks where everything feels out of place. Girdles also help heal diastasis recti; a condition in some postpartum women that involves the separation of the rectus abdominus muscle into right and left halves.
When you’re pregnant, your ab muscles take a bit of a beating, however, there are some exercises that can help build those muscles back up from going dormant for so long. Once you get the OK from your doctor to start working out after birth, go gentle, and ease back into a fitness program. It may take a while to build your strength back up.
You can’t spot-reduce fat on your stomach, but you can clean up your nutrition and focus on these
5 moves to target mommy tummy-
- The plank is an isometric exercise, which means that the goal is to resist movement rather than perform it. The plank is also known as the prone bridge and can be performed without any equipment. I avoided doing these for a few months after having my son. You can switch it up and do a side plank if it feels uncomfortable doing prone (facing down) planks.
- Assume a push-up position, except keep your forearms on the floor rather than just your hands.
- Balance on your toes and draw your stomach in; hold the position for as long as you can.
- If you find this move too challenging, you can balance on your knees rather than your toes.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you. If you feel uncomfortable, try lying on carpet or on a yoga mat. If you have back problems, fold a towel and put it under the curve of your back, just above your hips. Keep your hands flat down on the ground.
- Bend your legs and raise them, keeping your toes pointed. Your thighs should be perpendicular to your body, while your shins are parallel.
- Straighten your legs so that they’re pointed at the ceiling. Keep your toes pointed. For a harder workout, skip Step 2 and slowly raise your legs to the ceiling without bending them.
- Slowly lower your legs to about an inch off the floor. Don’t just let gravity work for your – make sure you’re in control. If the exercise feels too easy, try to lower more slowly.
- Slowly raise your legs back up to the ceiling.
- Repeat 5 times, then rest for 30 seconds. Try to do 3 sets for now – you can add more later on.
- Lie on your stomach with the legs and arms extended.
- Engage your abs so you feel your transverse abdominis contract.
- With your arms and legs extended and lifted off the floor and nose toward the mat, flutter your arms and legs, moving from the hips and shoulders (not the knees and elbows).
- Swim for 30 seconds.
- This isotonic abdominal exercise engages primarly the transverse abdominal and hip flexors. Proper form is critical to ensure you are not putting undue strain on your lower back.
- Lay down on the mat and place your hands, palms down, under your glutes with knees bent and feet on the floor.
- Now stretch your legs straight out keeping your upper body stable and flat to the floor.
- Lift your feet off the ground about 3 inches with toes pointed (or flexed for more challenge). Lift higher for beginners and bend at the knees.
- Alternating legs, kick your legs up and down. So, one leg goes up and the other goes down simultaneously.
- Make sure to breath as you do this exercise. Do this for several kicks and then relax.
Forward Ball Roll-
- Not only will this exercise help you achieve strength, stability and flexibility in your stomach and back muscles, but it will also target your shoulders and triceps muscles.
- Kneel in front of a Swiss ball (also known as a physio ball or stability ball) with your forearms bent and resting on the curve of the ball. The angle of your hips and shoulders should be the same.
- Contract your stomach muscles and pull your belly button in towards your spine while keeping your head, neck and spine aligned.
- Slowly roll your body forward while keeping your arms on the ball. Move your legs and arms equally, so that the angles at the shoulders and hips stay the same. As you roll forward, focus on your abdominals and continue to keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine. Let your core control the exercise.
- Stop at the point just before you lose form. If you feel as if your back has arched and your belly has dropped towards the floor, then you have lost form. Keep spine and back straight during entire exercise.
- Hold for 2-3 seconds at this position and then return to the starting position (at this point, you should still keep your stomach pulled in). Tempo should be slow and controlled. Exhale as you roll out, inhale as you roll back to the start position.
- For beginners, perform 6-8 repetitions for 1-2 sets.
The key is to listen to your body, and be gentle with yourself!