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Experts Corner

Fitness

Abdominal Routines for Postpartum Moms
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. Any suggestions for an abdominal routine for postpartum moms, specifically targeting the lower abs. I used to do reverse curls for this area, but I find those very difficult now. Should I just keep working with them or are there better exercises for this area?

A. The first order of business is to make sure that you don't have any separation of your rectus abdominus. To check, lay down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift up your head and shoulders, contracting your abdominal muscles (like doing a crunch). Place two fingers about an inch below your belly button and feel for a separation between the two sides of your rectus muscle. If you can move your fingers more than two-fingers' width side to side, then you have a separation that we need to deal with.

Assuming you have NO separation, reverse curls are an excellent way to tone the lower portion of the abs. Another exercise is bringing alternating knees toward your chest as you lift your head and shoulder blades off the floor. With all ab work, be sure to exhale as you tighten the abs pulling your belly button toward your backbone, and inhale as you release the muscle.

Laying your baby on your abdomen for added resistance will really increase the intensity of your workouts!

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