Newborn babies are wonderful to embrace … postpartum pooches, not so much. That’s why we caught up with David Reavy of React fitness to get the skinny on what it takes to whip a post-pregnancy body into shape.
David says a scar tissue buildup is to blame for the lack of function in lower abdominals.
“The rectus abdominis is one of the abdominal muscles that attach at your ribs, all the way down to your pelvic bone,” he says. “That muscle becomes overstretched during pregnancy and … doesn’t work properly. You have to actively engage it through activation exercises.”
A woman can begin these activation exercises as early as six weeks after birth but as always, individuals should consult with a physician before starting any workout regimen. The goal is to make sure the abdominals are engaged properly. If they become too tight, they could shut down and in turn, affect the hip flexors as well.
Ready to have at it?
Clinical Reformer Workout: Targets Lower Abdominals to Release Scar Tissue
- Get on all fours with knees touching and feet spread apart (in a “V” formation).
- Using your knees, bring carriage backwards, careful not to drop your back.
- Bring the carriage back to starting position, pulling with knees first and engaging abdominals.
**If you do not have access to a clinical reformer, you can use an exercise wheel. Lay on the ground, keep your knees together, feet spread apart, and look down at wheel. Lead with knees as you push the wheel out. Engage and stabilize lower abdominals
Cobra Stretch: Targets Hip Flexor and Deep Soleus Muscle
- Lay flat on ground, stomach down.
- Keep right leg straight back and turn foot in toward the left leg. Bend left leg, bring knee up so that thigh is hip-level.
- Place hands square under shoulders and push chest up.
- For a deeper stretch, look up and turn shoulders to face same direction as bent leg.
- Hold pose for 30 seconds, switch sides. Repeat a total of three times.