A lot has happened during pregnancy with organs rearranging, abs separating, glutes lengthening and not to mention baby appearing. This circuit focuses on reconnecting with your core, breathing plays an important role. Please read through our blog post on 360 breathing and pelvic floor before attempting these exercises, link here. The exercises progress in level of difficulty our advice is to master one before moving onto the next.
DISCLAIMER: While the exercises are Diastasis Recti safe, it is not advised to perform any of them before your doctor provides you with an all clear to exercise. If you experience any doming please consult with your doctor or physiotherapists.
If you have not been checked for Diastasis Recti please read our blog on how to self check, link here.
Take your time, listen to your body and recover safely.
1. SUPINE ABDOMINAL BRACING
Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Keep your lower back in neutral (avoid rounding your lower back). Breathe in, expanding through your trunk and gently relax your pelvic floor (link on 360 breathing can be found here). Exhale, squeeze and lift your pelvic floor and contract your abdominal wall knitting the muscles together. You should feel tension in your abdominals as they stabilize and firm your trunk. Imagine your kid running towards your belly! Be careful not to hollow out your abdominals but rather flatten your trunk from ribs to pubic bone.
Breathe in and repeat.
2. ABDOMINAL BRACING IN FOUR POINT KNEELING
Hands are directly underneath your shoulders and knees directly beneath the hips. Arms should be fully lengthened but avoid locking your elbows. The chest and the front of your shoulders should be open without tension in the neck area. Spine is neutral.
Breathe in, expanding through your trunk and gently relax your pelvic floor. Exhale, squeeze and lift your pelvic floor and contract your abdominal wall knitting the muscles together. You should feel tension in your abdominals as they stabilize and firm your trunk. Be careful not to hollow out your abdominals.
Breathe in and repeat.
3. PALM KNEE PRESS
8-10x (3-5 second hold)
Lying on your back bring knees up to tabletop position (90 degrees). Place your palms on your knees shoulders stay connected to the floor. Breathe in, expanding through your trunk and gently relax your pelvic floor. Exhale, pushing your palms and knees against each other as you squeeze and lift your pelvic floor and contract your abdominal wall knitting the muscles together.
4. HEEL SLIDES
6-8x (repeat on other leg)
Lying on your back with bent knees and both feet on floor. Breathe in, expanding through your trunk and gently relax your pelvic floor. Exhale, contract and lift pelvic floor and stabilize your core, then sliding your heel on the floor away from you. Maintain the weight of your leg on the floor (trying not lift your leg off the floor). Stop if you feel your lower back arching up from the floor, this is a sign you are not adequately stabilizing your lower abdominal muscles. You can monitor this by putting your fingers on either side of your lower spine to sense whether it is arching. Once you've fully extended or reached the point where you feel pain or your lower back arches, stop. Inhale while sliding your foot back to a bent-knee position. Once completed 6-8 reps, repeat on the other leg.
5. TABLE TOP HOLD
Lie down on mat with your knees bent and arms at your sides. Exhale to engage as you bring your legs up to tabletop one leg at a time, knees bent above the hips, thighs perpendicular to the floor. Maintain a neutral spine and avoid arching or pressing your back into the floor. Try to breath through and maintain the pose for 30 seconds.
6. ALTERNATING KNEE FALLOUT
Lie down on mat with your knees bent and arms at your sides. Bring your legs up to tabletop. Maintain a neutral spine and avoid over-arching or pressing your back into the floor.
Exhale slowly letting one knee fall out to the side within your range of motion, you should feel motion strictly at your hip joint while your abdominals keep the rest of your body still. You should not have excessive movement in your back or your pelvis, resist arching your low back. It helps to place your hands on your hip bones to ensure they stay stable.
Inhale to return to starting position and repeat on alternate leg.
7. TOE TAPS
Lie down on mat with your knees bent and arms at your sides. Bring your legs up to tabletop. While maintaining core activation drop one leg, maintaining the bent leg angle, towards the floor taping onto the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat on alternative side.
If you have a diastasis or notice any doming down the midline, keep one leg on the floor at all times and lift individually.
Lie down on the floor, draw your shoulders down away from your ears. Lift your hands so your elbows are above your shoulders, palms facing your feet. Lift your legs with your knees bent at 90 degrees directly over your hips.
Exhale, with control slowly lowering your right arm and extending your left leg until they’re just above the floor. Only extend your leg and arm as far as you can without your back beginning to arch. If you feel your low back arching, bring your arm and leg back to center before repeating to the opposite side. Inhale, bring them back to the starting position.
If you experience a popping in the front of your hip, focus on pulling your ribs down to help provide additional stability. If the popping continues lower the leg bent instead of flat to the floor.
Repeat on the opposite side.
9. BENT KNEE SIDE PLANK
20-30 sec (repeat on other side)
Lie on one side, place your forearm under your shoulder perpendicular to body. Bend your bottom knee at a right angle. Place your top leg directly over the lower leg with hips facing forward.
Engage your core and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Be careful not to let your hips drop. Hold position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
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