Postnatal Exercise – Workout Like a Mama
Looking for a mama-friendly workout you can do from home? Why not give my 20 minute full body accumulator workout a go! Featuring low and high impact options for different fitness levels. Read on for advice on postnatal exercise for those suffering with ab separation following pregnancy.
So NOT summer body ready..
So you may have read my post a few months back about ’embracing the mum bod’ and know that I’ve always been pretty into keeping fit. Despite attempting regular workouts, unfortunately I missed getting beach body ready this summer (anyone else?) and I was left wondering why my mum tum was so adamant on sticking around. I had jumped straight back into exercise after my 6-week postnatal appointment, unbeknown to me that the crunches and mountain climbers I was suffering through were making my weakened abdominal muscles even worse!
Why were my abs so weak?
Ab separation (or ‘diastasis recti’) is common during pregnancy. Your growing uterus pushes the two muscles apart, sometimes leaving a gap of several centimetres after your baby is born. This is another reason why those pelvic floor exercises you may be shrugging off (I did) are even more important as you will be focusing on pulling in your core at the same time. I had never heard of it before – it was only when I noticed my stomach was ‘doming’ in the middle that I began frantically googling my new found ‘medical condition’ and worrying my organs were going to escape through my belly button (a tad dramatic, I know).
I signed up for MummyFit classes about a month ago now and have to say it’s great to be there with other Mums and be able to release my inner competitiveness – it really encourages me to push myself harder. Not going to lie though, I did originally think it would be a bit of a social (where’s the cake?!) but it’s actually pretty intense! It can be hard to find the time and motivation to workout at home and this is something where you can take your baby along with you – so no excuses! The great thing is every Mum has a consultation at the start to assess your level of fitness following pregnancy and to check your abs for separation / weakness.
How to check your abs from home
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
- Lift your head and shoulders slightly and place the tips of your fingers just above and then just below your belly button
- You should be able to feel the edges of the muscles almost meet. Or you may be able to feel a distinct gap, which means you now have your work cut out to work them back together to avoid causing back problems
Putting it right
It’s important to avoid any strenuous ab exercises as these can just make the problem worse. Yoga and Pilates are great to strengthen the core, or if you’re attending gym classes or working out from home, it’s important to opt for low-impact exercises.
If you are after a high intensity exercise session where you don’t have to fork out for a gym membership, try my full body fat-burning workout from home. It only takes 20 minutes so it’s great if you find a short gap in your day where baby might be asleep or is happy entertaining himself for a while. If you can encourage your partner or a friend to try it with you – even better! It’s great to have someone with you to increase motivation and I have included a high and low impact version depending on your fitness level / ab strength. All you need is a timer and maybe some background music to really get you in the zone!
Live healthy & get results
They say (I know, who are ‘they’ right) that abs are made in the kitchen and it’s amazing just how much a simple meal plan has helped me stay on track with healthy eating. I try and fit in a workout every other day, after which I allow myself to indulge in carb-loaded meals (because I’ve earned it!) In just a week I have managed to lose an inch off my belly and 0.5 inches off my waist and hips – goodbye muffin tops!
Have you suffered from ab separation? How long did it take you to rebuild your pre-pregnancy strength? Would love to hear your comments!
Fancy trying out one of my workouts at home? Don’t forget to pop your details in below to receive your free download / printable!