Ab Toning After Pregnancy

We recommend working not harder but smarter to tighten up your abs after giving birth. For instance, when you do the basic crunches on our Navel Power DVD, do not curl all the way up for now. Place one hand behind your head, elbow to the side and face facing the ceiling, and place the other hand just below your navel. On the exhale tighten your abdominals and only come up as far as you feel the abdominals drawing in and together.

Press your lower back ribs into the floor but try to relax your diaphragm. This means you should not be gripping this area. When you grip the solar plexus region, or the psoas muscle (hip flexors) it takes the work away from the deep abdominals we are trying to work. Right now, as you are reading this, try placing one hand just below your navel and one hand on your rib cage. Make a hissing sound through your mouth. You should feel the rib cage flatten as well as your lower abs tighten. While this is not the exact same thing, when the diaphragm is relaxed the ribs flatten in the same way and the lower abs take over the workload.

Plank Pose (front push up position with the toes not curled under, or the variation where you are on your forearms with your fingers interlaced and toes curled under), which is on many of our DVD in different forms, is great for working the transverse abdominals which give our midsections a sleek appearance.

We also suggest that during the day, whether you're standing or sitting, that you try to be mindful of relaxing your ribs and pulling your navel in to lengthen your lower spine.

See Also: AB 101