The 'Mommy Pooch' Workout To Help Your Belly Disappear Quickly
First, I want to state that there is nothing wrong with a "mommy pooch." Your body has gone through tremendous change throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, so give yourself some grace and your body some gratitude for all that it has done for both you and your baby. Trust me, I get it—as a pre and postnatal trainer and mama of two, I understand that this process (which can vary from mama to mama and from baby to baby) can physically and mentally take a toll on you. But remember, your body is resilient, and there are absolutely exercises you can do to target this area. This is why we've put together this safe and effective mommy pooch workout to lose belly fat, help you heal your Diastasis Recti (DR), reconnect with your pelvic floor, and leave you feeling as confident as ever.
For each exercise, I recommend using a Pilates ball or pillow. Also, all of the exercises (except for the 360 Breathing) should not be done until you have been cleared by your doctor for exercise post-birth. Not cleared? Consider trying this three-week postpartum daily stretch.
Read on to learn all about this mommy pooch workout, and when you're finished, check out 10 Things You Should Do Every Morning for All-Day Energy.
360 Breathing with 90/90 Legs on the Wall
Breathwork is one of the most powerful forms of movement for postnatal core recovery, and it can be done as early as one day after birth. I recommend doing 360 breathing during pregnancy for a strong, empowering birth and continuing to use it during postpartum to re-engage and strengthen your core and pelvic floor.
To start, head to a wall, and roll down to your back with your butt relatively close to the wall. Then, place your feet on the wall about hips-width distance, and bring your legs into a 90-degree angle—knees in line with your feet and knees over your hips. Put the ball between your thighs, and place your hands around your ribcage—fingers in the front and thumbs in the back. Take a deep breath in, feel your ribcage expand under your fingers on all sides, and relax your pelvic floor. Then, exhale out of your mouth as if you're sipping through a straw, and pretend like you're squeezing a blueberry with your pelvic floor as you squeeze on the ball. As you continue exhaling, pull your abdominals in and push your ribs down. Do this for a total of 10 breaths.
This is one of my favorite ways to gently engage the core during pregnancy and postpartum. Start in a tabletop position—hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips, and a slight bend in the elbows. Place the ball or pillow between your thighs. Take a big inhale to prepare, and then as you exhale, press firmly into your hands, and squeeze the ball as you lift your knees one inch above the mat. Hold for a second, and then lower your knees back down. Repeat this for a total of eight reps. To finish, hold your knees up to hover for a total of three full breaths, and then relax in child's pose for two breaths.
Modified Side Plank
This position is great to work your obliques and help with rib flare. Start in a tabletop position again, then bring your knees together, and place your right forearm (parallel with the top of the mat) onto the mat as you roll to your right side and stack your knees on top of each other. Grab your ball, place it between your thighs, and make sure your hips are stacked as you reach your right arm to the ceiling. Inhale to prepare, and then squeeze on the ball as you exhale, drawing everything in and up. Do this for a total of eight reps, and then squeeze on the ball and pulse your hips up an inch for eight reps. Do this for a total of two rounds, and then repeat on the other side.
This is a sneaky way to fire up your core and engage your glutes, which are both necessary in supporting and healing your pelvic floor. Start in tabletop position again—hands under shoulders, knees under hips, and a slight bend in the elbows. Place the ball behind your right knee, and flex your foot to engage the hamstring and keep the ball in place. Inhale, and lift your knee up behind you to about hip height. Hold for a second, and then exhale as you slowly release the knee back down. Pull your weight into your right hand as you do this so you don't sink into your left hip, and keep the squeeze on that ball. Do this for a total of eight reps, and then lift your knee up and hold it as you squeeze on the ball for eight reps. Do this for a total of eight reps, and repeat on the other side.
To finish, repeat the tabletop plank series for your final burn. Great work, mama!