Getting sick of heel slides, clamshells and squats to help heal your diastasis and get a stronger core and pelvic floor?
Mix things up by adding some (or all) of these exercises into your core and floor healing routine.
There’s not a crunch, plank, or v-sit in sight which means that they’re designed for your postnatal body – even if you have diastasis recti or other pelvic floor and core issues.
(Just obviously check in with your physio or physical therapist before you dive in if you’re dealing with a severe diastasis, prolapse, or extremely weak pelvic floor and core).
And yes – even though they may not look like your traditional core exercises – all these movements are working your core and pelvic floor.
You can add a couple of them to your current strength training routine, or do them all together for a full body workout.
Before you dive into these you should be at least 6 weeks postpartum and have the all-clear from your doctor or physio to do these specific exercises. And definitely take it easy if you’re just starting to get back into exercise after having your kiddo.
The point isn’t to push yourself. No pain, no gain is BS. If you feel pain, that’s a sign your body needs you to stop. So take it easy on yourself and rest when you need to, and modify or skip any exercises that don’t feel right for your body.
Get yourself warmed up and let’s get started!
Similar to bridge and clamshells, froggies are a great exercise for your booty – which is a crucial part of your core. A strong butt is a great thing to have. Not only does it look great, it helps your whole body function better too.
1. Start by laying face down on the floor, resting your head into your heads. Make sure to keep your head in your hands for the entire set of exercises so you keep your back in proper alignment.
2. Bring the bottoms of your feet together with your legs out to the side like frog legs.
3. Pressing the bottoms of your feet in toward each other, press them up toward the ceiling, squeezing your booty when you get to the top. Relax your legs down to the ground, unclench your booty, and then go for it again.
Bridge Hold with Band
If you’re bored of plain ol’ bridge pose, give this one a go. Adding the band helps activate your glutes a bit more and holding the pose for 45 seconds or so adds a touch more challenge to the basic exercise.
1. Lay down on your back with your knees bent, feet below your knees. Place the mini band just above your knees.
2. Without tucking your booty, push through your heels and lift your hips until your body is a straight line from knees to chest.
3. Put some pressure against the mini band so your knees don’t cave in. Hold for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Kneeling Band Press
Pushing heavy things overhead while standing can be a bit too much for your core when you’re just getting back into exercise after baby. That’s why the kneeling band press is so great. You still get the benefits of a overhead press, but you don’t have as much risk of hyperextending your back or overdoing it and hurting yourself.
1. Kneeling on the ground on one knee (like you’re gonna propose) put the end of the pilates band underneath your back knee. Grab the other end of the band with the hand closest to the band.
2. Keeping your pelvis neutral and avoiding leaning to the opposite side, press the band up above your head and bring it back down (trying to avoid just letting gravity cause your hand to come shooting back down).
3. Make sure you don’t round your upper back or scrunch your shoulder up to your ear.
Band Pull Apart
This exercise seems so simple but it’s a gooder. You should feel your transverse abdominis muscle – the “corset” muscle that wraps around your entire middle district – activate when you do this exercise. For less of a challenge, do this sitting down either cross legged or on your knees. For more of a challenge, do this standing.
1. Grab the band in between your hands with your arms out straight in front of your chest.
2. Slowly pull the band apart to just past your shoulder-width, while keeping your arms straight.
3. Bring your arms back together – resisting the urge to just let your hands snap back together.
These are a great lower body exercise – especially when you’re sick of squats. If you don’t have an actual Step (like one of these guys) you can use your bottom stair or a sturdy step stool. Just make sure that your knee isn’t higher than hip height and whatever you’re using is stable and can hold your entire bodyweight (plus the weight of the dumbbells if you’re using them).
1. Stand in front of a box, bench or step. Holding the dumbbells at your side if you’re using them.
2. Bring one foot up on the step in line with, or lower than your hip, making sure your whole foot is on the step.
3. Push through your heel to bring your other foot up to tap the top of the step. Keep your ribs tucked and make sure you don’t lean to one side. Lower back down to set up and go again.
Split Stance Band Rows
Rows are such a great postnatal movement – especially after all those hours of feeding your baby in that kinda crumpled over, half asleep slouch. A strong back is a key piece of the strong core. For this exercise you’re going to need something sturdy to wrap your band around at about chest height.
1. Come into a high lunge position – one leg in front, and one leg behind – with the knees slightly bent. Make sure your feet are slightly staggered so one foot isn’t directly behind the other.
2. Grab both ends of the band in the hand that’s opposite your forward leg (if your right leg was forward, that would be your left hand holding the band).
3. Keeping your shoulders down, bend your elbow and bring the band in toward your abdomen, squeezing your shoulder blade toward your other shoulder blade. Release your arm back to the starting position.
How Many Reps & Such?
If you’re just getting back into strength training post-baby, try 8-10 reps, 1-2 times a week.
If you’ve been back in the gym for a couple months or so, try 10-12 reps, for 1-2 sets, 1-3 times a week.
If you’re a regular gym goer and you’re feeling pretty strong post-baby you just need some new ideas, try 12-14 reps, for 2-3 sets, 1-3 times a week.
For more core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises, grab your free 21 Day StrongCore workout plan right here.