Pre and postnatal fitness expert Vicky Warr shares more exercises to help back ache and get a perter bottom after you’ve had your baby.
Vicky says, ‘While strengthening the muscles of your core is important, you also need to strengthen the powerhouse muscles that surround your pelvis. The glutes (bottom muscles) are the ‘forgotten core’. They hold our pelvis level and steady, extend the hip to move us forwards and keep our pelvis, legs and torso aligned. When your joints are more susceptible after birth due to the pregnancy hormones, strengthening these muscles with isolation exercises along with your core will help reduce the risk of injury or pain when you walk or go back to running.’
Practice these postnatal exercises regularly: combine them with Vicky’s recommended exercises for after your baby is born (you’ll find them in last month’s Active for Two).
Exercise 1: The Bridge
This exercise strengthens the deep muscles of the bottom which are also part of your core as a strong bottom helps with back ache and give you better posture.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and hip width apart, your feet flat on the floor and your arms flat on the floor by your sides. As in the pelvic tilt exercise you should have a very small gap between the floor and your lower back.
- Breathe out and squeeze your bottom muscles together then lift your hips up pushing into the heels of your feet and the backs of your upper arms (triceps).
- Hold this position for 2 seconds then lower your hips to the floor, stopping when you are half way down to the floor, then lift your hips back up again.
Repeat 10-12 times
- On the last repetition, keep your hips high and pulse up and down by just 2cms for 12 pulses.
Then repeat the single raises in steps 1-2 for another set of 10-12.
Exercise 2: The Clam
Helps to reduce aches and pains by strengthening your core and lower back muscles. It also helps improve balance in the leg and hip muscles and pelvis to reduce the risk of falls.
Lie right down on your right side, with your legs straight and your right arm straight out on the floor. Place your right hand just behind the back of your head so just your upper arm is on the floor. Bend your knees bringing them in front of your hips with your feet behind and top of each other. Your hips and knees should be stacked on top of each other. Place your left hand on your left hip.
- Breathe out and lift the top, left, knee up, toward the ceiling, keeping the heels and toes of your feet together and the hips still and facing forwards, with your top hip directly on top of the hip closer to the floor.
- Breathe in and lower the left knee back to meet the right knee.
Repeat 10-12 times.
Then switch sides to lie on your left side and repeat the same action lifting your right knee.
Repeat 10-12 times.
Then switch to your right side, repeating the exercise again for another set of 10-12 on your right side before switching to the left.
To Tighten and Tone Your Tummy
Abdominal separation or Diastasis Recti can occur in about 60% of pregnancies. It is where the connective tissue gets stretched and thins as the mothers’ belly grows during pregnancy. Often it heals after birth and in the first few weeks but with some women it remains for a year after birth. It’s often described as a ‘kangeroo pouch’ or ‘pooched tummy’.
The Exercise: Head Lift
Strengthens your core, helps heal abdominal separation (diastasis recti) and bring your tummy muscles back together.
Lie on your back with your legs straight out in a v-shape, placing your hands by your either sides of your ears.
- Breathe in, then breathe out deeply and draw your belly button inwards towards your spine and lift your head and shoulders gently, with your chin towards your chest.
- Hold for 2 seconds, breathing in and out, then lower your head and shoulders back to the floor.
Repeat 10-12 times.
The Exercise: The March
Strengthens and tones the core muscles, the lower tummy and pelvic floor muscles.
Start resting on your knees and hands with your shoulders over your wrists and hands flat on the floor and your knees about hip width apart on the floor, directly under your knees. Look down to the floor at the space in between your hands.
- Breathe out and draw your belly button inwards and upwards towards your spine and lift your right hand and your left knee up about 2 cms off the floor. It is a very small move.
- Lower both your right hand and left knee back to the floor as you breathe in.
Repeat this 15 times, then switch to doing the same action lifting your left hand and right knee, 15 times too.
Bonus 10 Minute Video!
Watch this short video to help you tone your bottom after having a baby.
Check out the postnatal exercise tips from Vicky Warr that featured in last month’s Active For Two.
About the Author
Vicky Warr has over 18 year’s experience in the fitness industry, a pregnancy and postnatal fitness specialist and health coach and founder of Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr.
Check out her Online Health and Fitness Studio and get started with LIVE postnatal video classes at home, 30 Day Challenges with Videos and healthy, quick recipes the whole family will love at: www.bumpandbeyond.club
These tips and exercises are suitable for you whether you had a c-section or more straight forward birth. Just be sure to have had your postnatal medical check before doing these exercises.