Amy helped me out today taking some pics in the park, to show everyone at home some safe exercises to do to help bring back some strength and stability to your core area. The most basic activity which can be practiced in the first few weeks and beyond is a “pelvic tilt”. This can be done standing up, lying on your back, or on your hands and knees. In the pictures below I am standing . Follow these steps to do this exercise, first in a standing position, and then try the other options.
Step 1: Stand feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent
Step 2: Shoulders need to be drawn down and back, spine is long and tall
Step 3: Imagine a piece of rope is attached to the bone at the front of your pelvis pulling it forwards, and at the same time your bum is tucking underneath you. Feel the abdomen lightly scooping in towards the spine as you shorten the muscles at the front of your tummy. Your back will flatten out.
Step 4. Hold, continue to breathe, and release to a neutral spine position (half way between pelvis tucked under and pushed back.
(Make sure you keep your knees bent the whole time, and stay still in your upper body, just rotate your pelvis. Use your abdominal not your bum muscles!)
Pelvic tilts shorten the muscles that have been stretched at the front of the tummy during pregnancy, and are one of the best to do in the first 6 months. Build up to 3 sets x 10 reps per day in one or a combination of positions.
Now lets look at a basic leg slide. You know how to tilt your pelvis, which means you can now find neutral spine. This is the halfway position between an arch in your back and a flat back. This is the position your back should remain throughout the movement.
Step 1: Lie on your back, knees bent to 90 degrees.
Step 2: Find your neutral spine, and feel your body in this position. Hands down or out at the sides of the body.
Step 3: Inhale, then exhale as you extend your left leg away from your body. Maintaining a neutral spine is the key to this exercise, if your back is arching, rotate your pelvis under as in a pelvic tilt, and extend your leg a little less. Bring foot back to starting position
Step 4: Find neutral spine, inhale, then exhale and extend your right leg, hold for a 2 sec count and return to starting position.
Build up to 3 sets of 12-15 per day.
Once you have mastered the basic pelvic tilt in all positions, can extend the legs away from the body without arching your back, and can easily do 3 x 15 reps you will be ready to move on. Stick with these for now.
One more exercise for this week….When you work any muscle, you also need to work the opposing one. So it’s important that when you do abdominal exercises you also need to do back exercises.
Step 1: Starting on your hands and knees, hands directly under your shoulders, knees directly under your hips
Step 2: Keep your head looking directly down to the ground or floor (remember it’s an extension of your spine)
Step 3: Inhale, exhale, lift and extend your left leg behind your body – lengthen and stretch, don’t lift your leg higher than your hip height, and extend your opposite arm. Draw your tummy inwards toward your spine. Breathe. Hold for a count of 3 and return to starting position.
Step 4: Inhale, exhale, and lift and extend your right leg behind your body and your left leg. Repeat each side 5x. Hold for a count of 3 sec.
If you suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome, have tendonitis, weak wrists, or are wobbly, start on the lower version first and progress to your knees.
So get practicing the basics, and have a great long weekend!