Here are a few tips and pointers on exercises you can do following childbirth to build back your strength for the time being.
In my classes, I always maintain it’s very important to focus on tightening the pelvic floor and ab muscles first and foremost post birth.
Other great exercises to introduce when ready… (try 10 reps of the below, up to three times a day). Fear not…there’s a short video of some of the exercises I’ve mentioned below, hope this helps. N.B. Some of these are sped up to make a quick-fire vid so do take them slow!
Once you’re strong enough, I would recommend a daily dose of 30-50 pelvic squeezes (pull in your back and front passage at the same time, think holding wee/fart…sorry!), do a series of short bursts as well as long holds and short releases. Combine that with 30-50 x ab contractions a day (pull your navel back to your spine and release, try to not suck in breath, and use your tummy muscles like you’re trying to squeeze into your jeans). Do these when you’re taking your baby for walks in the buggy, when you’re doing dishes, ironing, when they’re having a nap etc…it will really help pull your ab muscles back together and tighten things up generally!
Feet placed slightly wider than hip width apart and slowly sink into position sticking out your bum and sinking your hips back and down, and then return to stand.
Back placed on the floor, knees bent, feet and knees positioned hip width apart, raise your bottom and hips off the ground, slowly lowering back down to the ground. Include some pulses at the top and pelvic squeezes on every tenth rep.
On all fours in box position, stick out your opposing arm and leg, engage the core for ten seconds and then swap.
Stand with your back against a wall, place your feet about two feet out in front of you. Feet should be hip-distance apart. Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90 degree angles. Hold for up to 10-15 secs at a time (and repeat depending on strength).
Once you start to feel stronger you can start introducing some cardio (jogging on the spot, more brisk and uphill walks with the buggy, cycling, swimming), as well as some arm strength exercises (press ups with knees placed hip width apart and hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, as well tricep dips on the floor with knees bent at 90 degree angles and hands facing inward slowly lower and raise using your arms, or lower yourself from a chair or bench)…
Introduce a few more gentle ab sequences such as the plank (start with your knees on the ground or hands positioned against a wall at shoulder height and shoulder width apart, position your feet directly behind you so you have one nice long straight line from shoulders down to toes and hold in your core for 10 second hold-and-release reps) and table top toe touches (lying with your back flat on the floor, position your legs in table top position, keeping knees bent at a 90 degree angle, lower one leg at a time, touch your toes to the ground).