Repair diastasis recti and increase core strength after pregnancy with this home workout: the best postpartum ab exercises for moms. Add this to your workout routine to repair abdominal separation after pregnancy, strengthen the pelvic floor and hips, and build core strength. This postpartum core workout uses a mini resistance band to target the deep core muscles, but you can perform the moves with just your bodyweight if you don’t have one available.
Today’s workout adds in a mini loop resistance band to increase tension and strengthen the core post pregnancy. This is one of my favorite tools to help make the mind-muscle connection necessary to start repairing diastasis recti.
Don’t have a resistance band? You can substitute an old sports bra or perform the moves with just your bodyweight.
Free Postpartum Workout Plan
Postpartum Ab Exercises FAQs
What Is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is common in women who have experienced pregnancy. Diastasis recti occurs when the rectus abdominis muscles (six-pack ab muscles) and linea alba (connective tissue) separate as your belly grows during pregnancy. This ab separation can range from mild to severe.
How Soon Can You Do Ab Workouts Postpartum?
Every postpartum healing experience is different. Talk to your doctor or midwife for medical clearance before returning to exercise after giving birth, especially if you had any complications. I personally started doing the beginner version of exercises like this one around 2 weeks postpartum and scaled up to the advanced version a few weeks later. Start where you are and do what you can!
Who Should See A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist?
If it’s an option available to you, I recommend this to everyone who’s been through a pregnancy. I learned so much about my body from my sessions with Dr. Sari (Motion MN). Other reasons to see a pelvic floor PT include symptoms like bladder control/urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence, urinary or fecal urgency, heaviness/pressure, pain or fear with return to intercourse, constipation or issues with bowel movements, or just wanting guidance with return to exercise and strengthening your core.
10-Minute Mini Band Postpartum Abs (Advanced)
Strengthen and tone your abs after pregnancy with these postpartum abdominal exercises.
These resistance band ab exercises are specifically designed to heal diastasis recti, strengthen the pelvic floor and glutes, and rebuild your core strength after baby. That said, this is a challenging ab workout for everyone.
5 Advanced Postpartum Ab Exercises With A Resistance Band
Band Overhead Pull Apart and Two Kick Outs
Targets: Deep transverse abdominal muscles (TVA), lower abs, hips and chest.
How To Do A Band Overhead Pull Apart and Two Kick Outs
Lie flat on the mat, performing a slight pelvic tilt to press your lower back into the mat and drawing your belly button towards your spine. Think about wrapping your abdominal wall around your torso.
Then bring your legs up, knees bent at 90-degrees, shins parallel to the floor.
Loop the resistance band between your thumbs and extend your arms straight overhead, wrists stacked over shoulders.
Inhale, letting your belly expand, keeping the resistance band loose between your hands.
Exhale, pulling the band apart as you brace your core and press your lower back into the ground.
Hold this core engagement as you kick out your right heel, then pull it back in. Focus on keeping your left leg steady as your right leg moves away from your body.
Repeat on the left, kicking out your left heel and pulling it back in.
Inhale, returning your knees to starting position and releasing tension on the resistance band.
Modification: Reduce range of motion to reduce the intensity. You can keep bends in both knees rather than kicking straight out to scale this exercise as well.
Banded Dead Bug
Targets: Transverse abdominal muscles (deep core muscles below your rectus abdominis muscle or six pack ab muscles), lower abs, inner thighs and hip flexors.
How To Do A Banded Dead Bug
Lie on your back flat on the floor, performing a slight pelvic tilt to press your lower back into the mat. Loop the resistance band around both feet, band resting on top of your shoelaces.
Lift your knees to form a 90-degree angle (knees stacked on top of hips), and extend your hands straight overhead toward the ceiling.
Inhale, letting your belly expand.
Exhale, engaging your core and simultaneously extending your right arm and left leg away from your body, creating tension on the band. Left arm and right leg remain in place. With control, return to starting position.
Inhale, letting your belly expand and relaxing your thighs.
Exhale, engaging your core and repeating on the other side: extending your left arm and right leg away from the body, before returning with control.
Modification: Reduce range of motion of your legs, performing bent leg dead bugs instead of straight leg dead bugs to reduce the intensity of this exercise.
Lying “V” Pull-Aparts
Targets: Deep core muscles (transverse abdominis), lower abs, gluteus medius (the outer part of your butt used for side-to-side movements), and hips.
How To Do Lying “V” Pull-Aparts
Lie on your back. Place a resistance band around your feet, band resting on your shoelaces. Engage your core to push your lower back into your mat (rib cage pulled in). Rest your head on your mat, keeping the spine neutral.
With the band looped around your feet, extend your legs away from you, feet hip-width distance apart and band taut.
With each exhale, pull your legs apart to form a “V” shape, stretching the band as far apart as possible.
Hold at the farthest point for a moment before slowly bringing your legs back together with control; returning to the starting position.
Modification: Shorten the range of motion by placing the band six inches above your knees (on the thighs) and perform this same movement with legs bent at 90 degrees.
Start in a high plank position. Shoulders over elbows, fingers spread evenly and hands pressed into the mat, core engaged. Loop a resistance band around your feet, band resting on the arches of your feet.
Engage your core to find a neutral spine, then drive your right knee towards your chest, keeping hips stable and square.
Try to keep your hips stable and square to the mat as you alternate reaching your arms straight out. Keep your hips in line with the rest of your body to avoid sagging hips or piked hips.
Modification: Take the plank from an incline (a chair or couch works great) to reduce the intensity.
Modified Side Plank Clam Shell
Targets: Gluteus medius (which lays on the outer edge of the buttocks and is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis), gluteus minimus (hip extension), obliques and core.
Clam shell exercises can help balance the muscular effort between your inner and outer thighs and your pelvic floor.
How To Do A Modified Side Plank Clam Shell
Lie on one side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle, soles of the feet to touch.
Rest on the forearm of the lower arm, shoulder stacked over elbow.
Exhale to engage the core and stabilize your spine and pelvic floor.
Keeping your feet touching, use your outer glutes and hips to lift your resting hip off the floor. Simultaneously as you lift your hips off the floor, open your legs, raising your upper knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis (mimicking a clam shell opening).
Pause, and hold at the top of the movement for a moment. Then return to the starting position.
Pin This Workout: 5 Postpartum Ab Exercises with Band
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