Guest author: Brittany Noonan
One of the most common questions I get asked is for exercises to help repair the separation of the abs. Below I share five exercises you can practice to repair the separation and—most importantly—strengthen your pelvic floor.
Perform these exercises two to three times per week, plus your Kegels DAILY!
1. PELVIC TILTS:
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds. REPEAT 10 to 15 TIMES and do two to three sets.
2. GLUTE BRIDGE:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you. Gently contract your abs and pelvic muscles to flatten your low back into the floor (like a pelvic tilt). Maintain this PF and ab contraction throughout the exercise. Lift your hips up off the floor. Press your heels into the floor. Make sure you don’t lift too high and cause hyperextension (arching) in your lower back. Hold for two seconds and lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat 15 times and two to three sets.
At the top (while hips are lifted), extend one leg and then lower on each side, then lower or hold glute bridge for 30 to 45 seconds.
3. HEEL SLIDES:
Lay on your back with your hands by your side in neutral spine. Gently contract your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles and hold throughout the movement. Slowly straighten one knee and then return to the starting position. Keep your spine and pelvis completely still and breathe normally. Repeat 10 to 15 times alternating legs and two to three sets.
4. QUARTER CRUNCHES WITH TOWEL:
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put a towel across upper shins and hold each end. Pull the ends of the towel and squeeze thighs together. Breathe in and then exhale as you draw your abs in and lift only your shoulders off the floor. Repeat 10 times and do two to three sets.
5. WALL PUSH UPS:
Face the wall with feet hip-width apart. Contract and draw in your PF and abdominals. Place hands on the wall and perform push up movement. If you do not have severe abdominal separation (two or more finger width) you can perform this movement on your knees. Only perform the full push up movement once separation is completely healed. Repeat 10 times and do two to three sets.
Hope this helps you to get started in repairing your separation.
Please remember this info is generalized and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. I HIGHLY recommend seeing a women’s health physio to get an overview of the condition of your abdominal wall and pelvic floor before returning to any type of exercise. You MUST also gain medical clearance from your GP or OB before returning to exercise post-baby.
Brittany Noonan is a wife and proud mom of one girl. She is a fitness trainer and runs the blog bybrittanynoonan.com a motherhood, fitness and style blog for moms and moms-to-be.