Traditional sit-ups or crunches place large amounts of stress on the lower spine and neck. As a new mum you generally already hold tension in these areas from all the bending, lifting, changing, feeding, driving, washing, typing, cooking, cleaning you do each day in your new role as mum.
Sore lower backs are common for new mums from a weak core after birth. If you have a sore back situps and crunches will not help. You need to focus on gently building up overall core strength to strengthen and connect the pelvic region, hips and spine which all work together for good back health, posture, fitness and wellbeing.
Six pack – schmix pack! Sure working your rectus abdominus muscle hard in conjunction with a lean diet is what contributes to a ‘six pack’, but as above you really don’t strengthen your deep functional muscles or core from sit-ups which are far more important for functional movement for mums.
Havoc on the Pelvic floor – too much pressure bearing down for situps or crunches without suitable core support can have an adverse effect on your already tired and recovering pelvic floor. Better to avoid the risk and work on your core.
Instead of hitting the mat to do sit-ups and crunches, try a few core stabilizing movements to get better use of your too precious time to exercise. These exercises are easier on your back and more effectively strengthen your abdomen as well as your whole core and back support system.
Plank pose, or holding a high pushup position, works your core. Hold your shoulders, hips and feet in a straight line for as long as you can then rest.
Side plank working your obliques- similar to a plank pose hold a straight line between shoulders hips and feet whilst open to the side supporting yourself with one arm. Swap sides.
Lying leg extension is the bomb for new mums. Lying on your back with knees bent, gently outstretch one leg to just above the floor then slowly return to starting position. Alternate legs.
Demonstrations on the above are on the video link attached or the Bounce Back abs toolkit cheat sheet.
If I say Tabata what do you think of? A sauce, a type of sausage or some kind of home renovating product?
Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training that ultimately improves endurance. It teaches your body to tolerate lactic acid. When you train in a high-intensity zone, your threshold becomes higher. It also keeps your metabolism running on high gear. One of the greatest benefits of this kind of high intensity training is that your body keeps burning fat for up to 24 hours after your workout. Now who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Some more great benefits of Tabata: It’s easy to plan, easy to do, and you don’t need much space or any fancy equipment. Just your body and a clock will do the trick.
Tabata works in four-minute intervals of 20 seconds work 10 seconds rest, it’s that easy. Why 16 minutes you may ask, well that’s because it’s usually done with just 4 exercises in rotation.
There are no limits to what you can use and you can tailor it to target the body area you are working on as well as general fitness improvement. Just pick four exercises, do a quick warm up and go for it. (Although as your trainer I encourage an up and down element to your choices for that little extra oomph!)
Static sprint/lying leg extensions/high knees or step shuffle/plank
Watch the clock – 20 seconds work on 1st exercise, rest for 10 seconds while setting up for the next exercise.
Be ready to go right on ten. Keep rotating through the set for 8 rounds of each.
Have a good stretch after the session.
Tabata is not recommended for beginners and best used if you have a moderate level of fitness. I’m sure like most of my clients you will love the challenge and be thrilled that it only takes 16 minutes. But go hard. Make it the full 20 seconds of work and no longer than 10 rest. If you include 1-2 tabata sessions into your weekly routine you will certainly start to see and feel results in a few weeks.