We know in pregnancy our abs take quite the beating. Very early on in the pregnancy we notice that our core strength is reducing as our belly gets bigger.
We follow the fairly well-known advice not to do sit-ups, crunches, planks or really any traditional ab work during our pregnancy. Some out of fear of hurting the baby, others have been told that it will make your abdominal separation worse.
With my first pregnancy I did ZERO core work from the second I found out I was pregnant, I had heard about the horror that is a diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and did everything I could to avoid getting it. I was devastated when I did the test during pregnancy and found my big round belly doming.
I was unaware that around 95% of women get a diastasis in the 3rd trimester. And looking back it makes sense… your abdominal muscles & fascia can only stretch so much, and my belly was taking it to the max! But I was caught up in that fear mongering.
Once Elle was born (& the initial haze wore off) and I was cleared to start working out again I had 2 focuses:
Lose all of this extra fat I gained
Build up my core strength
Seriously, the love handles I gained with her could have been an additional side ass. Jeez.
Anyways, I took to Pinterest (as one does when you are nursing around the clock). I started saving every ‘get your abs back’, ‘postpartum safe core exercise’, ‘heal your diastasis in two weeks’ type post. You know the ones, they feature a gorgeous woman with a toned slim waistline and booty shorts… You don’t even know if she had kids or was just a stock photo to get your attention. Well it worked on me.
All of these workouts had a couple things in common:
No Crunches EVER again or you could rip your abdominals right back open
No Front Planks because your weak stomach muscles and fascia would let all of your internal organs fall out
Now, at 6 weeks postpartum I was in no shape to be doing crunches or front planks that is for sure. But the messaging got engrained in my head and it wasn’t until recently that I started to really question it.
Now, I have taken personal training courses, and postpartum fitness courses, and even some of those said to avoid crunches and front planks, no wonder everyone is afraid.
But as I kept digging into the research and the textbooks, I came to a conclusion:
Can you do a crunch, sit-up, bicycle, front plank… whatever, without symptoms?
No: maybe your body isn’t ready for that exercise just yet, let’s heal it up a bit more.
Yes: go for it. Just keep in mind what symptoms you should be looking for and if you start to feel them, back off a bit.
Some of your symptoms may not pop up with 10 sit-ups, but after 40 and you are getting fatigued, they may start to show.
These are some of the things I like to talk about with my 1:1 coaching clients. We do not have to fear an exercise and never do it again. A sit-up is an important functional movement. How often do you sit up when getting out of bed, or off the floor with kids? If we don’t train those movements our bodies may not know how to properly handle it. How about a front plank? I use these all the time when I am hovering over the garden trying to get a weed at the back of the bed. Same position, I am just not out on my toes.
Let me help you take some of the fear away from your workouts. I can guide you through your fitness journey to build strength and confidence up. Working together you can feel strong enough to handle the core section of your yoga class, or the group class at the gym on your lunch break. You don’t have to sit that round out because you are worried about ruining your core. There are no bad exercises, we just need appropriate coaching to work through them.
I would love to hop on a discovery call and chat about the fears you are having or the struggles you are facing. Apply HERE. Let's work together to have you feeling like your confident badass mama self again.