Dr Christine Fraser on tummy time for Mums

Thanks again to resident expert Dr Christine Fraser from Health Creation Centre who this month talks us through some ‘tummy time’ exercises for post bub bodies. Christine uses these kinds of exercises with new mum out in Ocean Grove, so if you’d like a more personalised and detailed chat with her, make sure to give them a bell or click through to the website from the side banner.

So, the sun is shining and the grass is green. Your beautiful bundle of joy looks so perfect in their sunnies and hat. You look down at you post baby tummy and think not so perfect…

If you’re looking at getting that tummy into a bathing suit this beach season and turning that frown upside down, here’s five exercises to help you on you way.

But, firsts thing is first: make sure your body is ready. As I have said previously: labour is a pretty hard workout for you and your bub. It is recommended that you wait eight weeks before getting back into exercise. This can be even longer for cesarean sections and it is always worth a check in with your health care professional, especially if you had a tough post birth period (like those with abdominal separation).

It’s also important to have realistic goals. That pre-bub body that celebrities can recreate in weeks is not always (and often not) achievable. Working with this can be more helpful over the long term and besides you have a beautiful baby – what’s not to love!

Now that you have got the all clear; here we go! Make sure to grab an exercise mat as lying on the hard floor is never fun for anyone!

4 point kneel extensions:

In this one you are on all 4s, ensuring that your knees are under you hips and your wrist under your shoulders. Tuck you belly button up toward your spine (you should still be able to breathe) and gently squeeze your butt cheeks together.

There is a few parts to this and try it separately to start with.

Start by kicking one leg back. It shouldn’t go back much higher than your pelvis and I don’t want to see any massively arched backs! Then pull the back knee in (without placing it back down) and that is one. Aim to do this 12 times in both sides.

The next part (both knees back on the ground) extend one arm in front on you till about shoulder height and bring it back in with our replacing it on the ground. That is one and we will aim for 12 on each arm. It is important not to shift you weight side to side as you straight the arm out to the front – so squeeze those butt checks and tuck that belly button in.

The last variation on this is the combo of extending one arm and the opposite leg at the same time. This requires a bit more balance so take your time. Aim for 12 each side too.

Oblique mountain climbers:

You can do this two ways. If that tummy needs a little more attention before getting into a plank, you can do this on all 4s (same set up as above) and just do one side at a time.

For the full plank version you are set up nice and staring on your toes and your wrist (again under your shoulders. Tuck that belly button in and squeeze that but to add some stability. Bend one knee in and aim it toward the opposite elbow than replace the foot. Do the same on the otherside. This in one and aim for 12-15. Come to your knees to take a break if you need and do it at you own pace.

Reverse Ab lifts:

Lying on your back bring your legs up so the soles of your feet are parallel to the roof (slightly bent knees is all ok). Place your hands either side and tuck the belly button toward you spine. Squeeze your butt and lift it up toward the roof. Pop it back down and you’ve done one. It is important not to swing or use momentum. An inch off the ground done correctly is much better than 10 done terribly. Aim to do 12.

Glute bridges:

Lying on your back, tuck that tummy in, squeeze those butt checks together, breath in and curl your tail bone and spine up to form and bridge. Breathe out as you curl down and rest. Aim for 12-15 of these. Although not strictly tummy based, this one is great for pelvic and spinal stability – so a great all rounder!

V Sits:

Sit up and lean back a little way so that you make a v shape with your thighs and spine – remember v’s have straight sides to keep that spine straight and relax your shoulders! Have your arms out forward for balance and one leg at a time lift your feet up so you are sitting on the back of your pelvis. Hold for 6 breaths (slowly in and out). That’s one and aim for 5. Take care with this one if you had some coccyx damage during your pregnancy or labour.

It may come to surprise you that sit ups aren’t in this list. Generally speaking they aren’t a tummy terrific exercise as the majority of the population don’t have enough core and spinal stability to complete a set without straining through their neck. This can lead to neck pain and headaches – ouch!

The exercises above are all fantastic post bub tummy trimmers as they help to get that pelvic floor and the core switch on. So not only will you notice that tum become a little more toned, you’ll (more importantly) notice that you can lift, reach over and carry that beaming bundle of joy that bit easier. Any questions or clarification needed, don’t hesitate to call the Health Creation Centre. Happy exercising!

Dr. Christine Fraser, Osteopath and Clinical Pilates Instructor

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