Now Start Workin’ Those Fab Abs: Deep Core Part 3

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Deep Core Series – Part 3

Here at Making Mom Strong, we are dedicated to bringing you accurate information about your body, your muscles and postpartum abdominal exercises that are effective and safe.  This is not super trendy – but hopefully this more accurate way of approaching your core muscles (research based!) will be known by everyone world wide one day.

This blog is part of our mission to help women get back to the life they love after having babies.

How is your deep core coming along?

Can you turn it on and off? Do you feel your lower abs and pelvic floor lifting? If so, you are ready to start learning some deep core exercises!

If you’re still trying to find these muscles, don’t worry. It can take a few weeks to get the (seemingly) simple first steps down pat. If in time you still don’t find your deep core, I’d recommend seeing your local physical therapist to help you out.

From now on, deep core activation will be at the forefront of your mind with EVERY exercise you do.  I hope you appreciate how important this foundation is to your future of fitness.  You’re now ready to learn how to progressively strengthen your core in the safest and most effective manner.

If you’re training for a marathon you don’t just go out and run 20-some miles the first day…. you build up, train, get stronger and faster and then you kick some marathon booty.  The same rules apply here.

Seriously.  Take a lesson from me.  At five weeks postpartum with my oldest son I was running every day up and down hills pushing 40 pounds of jog stroller with an infant carseat (not to mention my infant)! I was so proud of myself.  I was in a big ol’ hurry to look good again, which I did.  BUT… two years and another son later and my body BROKE!  I’ll never know how much my desire to hurry back to my old life contributed to that broken body, but I WISH I would have been more thoughtful and gentle in my own postpartum recovery.

This week we’re focusing on two exercises that will help you continue to identify your deep core as well as begin to challenge it.  I know you’ve seen these before!  Don’t be fooled, the exercise is not novel, the approach is.

If you’re doing these right they’ll be harder than they look.  You may even be a touch sore in your lower abs the next day, seriously!

Quadruped Progression

Quadruped is just a fancy Physical Therapist term for “hands and knees”. Here is your starting position. From here engage your deep core.DSC00465

Practice turning it on and off in this position as well. It’s pretty easy to feel because when you relax gravity pulls your belly downward….yes, this is normal, don’t freak out.

Have a flat back and relaxed neck. Then turn on your core.

Lift your leg slightly.  Pause there.DSC00467

Is your deep core still on?!?!?

“Oh, right, my core! I don’t know.”

This is what I hear all the time.  We are not focusing on your legs, your butt, or your arms, though they are all working.

We are teaching your deep core to get strong enough to support you, so that one day you can jog up and down hills pushing 40 pounds without your body breaking!

Do this slowly, alternating legs and focusing on keeping your core muscles engaged the entire time.  Practice daily until you can do 30 repetitions beautifully.  Don’t forget to keep the rest of your body somewhat relaxed and keep breathing!

Once you’ve mastered the leg lifts you can try lifting the opposite arm, again working up to 30 reps.DSC00466

Leg Lifts

The sun here in Santa Fe is bright! Maybe next time I’ll wear shades.

Here you are sculpting your gluteus medius, which will not only help you look good, but stabilize your pelvis as well.

But what I really want you to think about is your core!  Shocking, I know.

I want you to be especially careful that you’re not just sucking in your belly here, which is an old pattern for many of us from workout videos or classes. If so, you’re putting too much pressure on your pelvic floor.

Do a kegel, zip those tight jeans, and breathe! If you need a refresher, read this.

Now, stack your hips.  As you lift your leg ensure it’s aligned with your body, not shooting to the front or back.DSC00476

Practice daily until you can to 30 repetitions perfectly while keeping your deep core engaged.

With all of these you will likely find that you can’t keep your core muscles perfectly firing for more than a few reps at first.  Stop when those deep muscles are fatigued.  Try again tomorrow.  It will come with time and practice!goodlukekisscircle

Special love to my little guy who was having a hard morning and did not want his mommy to set him down for some silly exercise pictures!

xo

Meg

 

 

Click here to read Deep Core Part 4

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