By Lagree Master Trainer Heather Perren and Sebastien Lagree
As a Senior Master Trainer for Lagree Fitness and a Certified Prenatal/Postnatal Trainer, I know that when new moms are ready to restart their workouts, they are often faced with challenges that pregnancy can bring with it, such as Diastasis Recti and a weakened pelvic floor. As a mom to triplets, who has personally experienced Diastasis Recti, I understand what new moms are going through when they are ready to get back to their workouts. Keep in mind these issues do not happen in every new mom, but you should always consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
Having a weakened pelvic floor may be common postpartum, but there are ways to strengthen the pelvic floor with some exercises that can be done right after you’re able to start working out again. Sebastien Lagree adds, “The Lagree Fitness Microformer or Megaformer can support you more so than being on the floor due to the spring support and low impact on the body, all while achieving faster results.” Try these two moves:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet anchored on the floor.
Press firmly into your heels to lift the hips up into a bridge position off the floor, making sure to squeeze the glutes and the pelvic floor muscles.
Hold for three seconds at the top, then slowly roll down.
Repeat for at least two minutes.
Stand with your feet hip distance, keeping the weight equal in both heels.
Begin to sit the hips back and then down as if you were going to sit in a chair.
Engage the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and tighten the pelvic floor muscles as you rise back up.
Keep a soft bend in the knees at the top of the squat.
Repeat for at least one minute.
When discussing Diastasis Recti, it’s important to understand the severity of your abdominal separation, meaning how many finger spaces you have. If you have a moderate to severe separation, it is best to work with a physical therapist to help offer specific moves. If you have 1-2 finger separation, you can resume your workouts with some modifications. It is best that you avoid all crunches and twisting movements as this can cause a further separation within your abdominal wall and instead focus on the deep transverse abdominal wall. To focus on trying to repair the Diastasis Recti, try these two exercises:
Perform a modified plank on the knees and either the hands or forearms.
The spine should be in a neutral position with no arching.
Try holding for 10-second increments, building up the stay in the plank for at least a minute.
Once you can hold a plank for a minute, try performing the plank on the toes.
Come to a flat back position with the knees under the hips and hands under the shoulders.
Engage the core as you lift the opposite arm and opposite leg and hold for 2-3 seconds.
Place hand and knee back down.
Perform for at least a minute, keeping the core engaged the entire time, pulling the belly button towards the spine.
Images provided by Lagree Fitness
Cover photo by RDNE Stock project