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4 Post-Pregnancy Core Exercises to Try Now

When it comes to advice on how to rebuild your core post-pregnancy, who better to go to than Sara Slattery? An elite runner and mom of two, who had her second child this past spring and has her eye on the 2016 Olympics, shared with us four of her favorite exercises for building core and hip stability and strength. (She does them during weekly sessions with John Ball, her active-release therapist at Maximum Mobility Chiropractic in Phoenix, Arizona.) For best results, perform the exercises three to four times a week.

Read our Fit Follow-Up interview with Sara Slattery here.

Bird Dogs

Remain on all fours and engage your abdominal muscles, keeping your spine and neck in a neutral position. (You should be looking at the floor.) Slowly extend your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm forward. Keep your hips and shoulders square and make sure your lower back doesn’t arch. Hold for five seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat the move with your right leg extended behind you and your left arm reaching forward. Complete two to three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

Foam-Roller Leg Kicks

Lie on the floor with a flat back (there should be no gap between your lower back and the floor). Bend your knees and lift your legs to form a 90-degree table-top position. Place a foam roller across your knees and hold it in place with your elbows. Slowly extend your left leg so that it is parallel to the floor and hovering above it. Slowly bring it back to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg. Complete two to three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg, alternating legs.

Spiderman Push-Ups

Assume the standard push-up position. As you lower your body toward the floor, lift your right foot off the floor, bring your right leg out to the side and try to touch your right knee to your right elbow. Reverse the movement and push your body back to the starting position. Repeat on the left side. Complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, alternating legs.

Hip Thrusts

Lean against a bench or other support that is at approximately knee-height or slightly lower. Rest your shoulders on its edge. Your torso should be at about a 45-degree angle and your feet should be planted in a hip- or shoulder-width squat position. Your spine should be neutral, lengthened in both directions. Your bodyweight should be distributed evenly between your feet and your shoulders. Pressing through both feet, exhale forcefully and contract your core as you drive through your feet and extend your hips upward. Squeeze your glutes and press through your feet until you reach a full hip extension. Pause for a moment and slowly lower your hips to the starting position. Pause there for a moment and repeat. Complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

As always, check with your health care professional before starting a new workout.

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