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5 Postpartum Recovery Ab Exercises (ADVANCED)

Support core recovery after pregnancy with this NO EQUIPMENT Advanced Postpartum Recovery Ab Workout! These ab exercises are designed to safely rebuild your abs after pregnancy by targeting the transverse abdominals and pelvic floor muscles.

Mastered our Beginner Bodyweight Postpartum Recovery Ab Workout? Then it’s time to scale it up to this ADVANCED Postpartum Ab Rehab workout – no equipment needed!

Returning to exercise after the postpartum period was just as much about my mental health as it was for my physical health. That said, I know it can be confusing (especially after my first baby, I remember being both super overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the amount of information that exists).

So we teamed up with my pelvic floor physical therapist (Dr. Sari Abelson PT, DPT) to develop a series of workouts designed to support you along your postpartum recovery journey (and it’s more than just kegel exercises).

Whether you have a newborn or your “baby” is 16, these exercises are a solid foundation for core and pelvic floor strength.

postpartum woman performing a modified deadbug exercise on her back

Postpartum Recovery FAQs

How Soon After Birth Can I Start Doing These Postpartum Recovery Exercises?

Every postpartum recovery timeline is different. Mayo Clinic says that if you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and vaginal birth, it’s generally safe to begin exercising a few days after giving birth or as soon as you feel ready. I personally started doing the beginner version of these exercises around 2 weeks after delivery and scaled up to the advanced version a few weeks later. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your postpartum healing process looks like.

How Do I Know When It’s Time To Progress To More Difficult Ab Exercises?

Assessing for hard vs. soft doming during exercise is a good gauge to determine how your body is managing pressure. Soft doming is when you can press your tissue inward vs. hard doming is when the dome is firm. Hard doming usually signals your tissue is working to its max capacity. Aim for soft doming.

What Are The Benefits of Postpartum Exercise?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that exercising after giving birth can strengthen abdominal muscles, boost energy, relieve stress, promote better sleep and may help prevent postpartum symptoms like mood swings, postpartum depression and anxiety or the “baby blues”.

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 postpartum 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.

rolling low plank exercise as part of postpartum recovery ab workout

10-Minute ADVANCED Postpartum Recovery Abs

Strengthen your core after pregnancy with these advanced versions of the BEST postpartum recovery ab exercises!

These advanced postpartum ab exercises are specifically designed to heal diastasis recti, strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, and rebuild your abs after baby.

Add this core repair workout to your postpartum workout routine as you feel capable, starting with 1-2 times a week and scaling up to 3-4 times a week.

Workout Equipment:

No equipment needed, just your bodyweight.

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postpartum woman performing an ab exercise lying on her back

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided ADVANCED Bodyweight Postpartum Recovery Ab Workout on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 5 Postpartum Recovery Ab Exercises 
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds of work, 20 seconds rest; complete as many reps as you can in the timed interval)
  • Repeat each exercise x2 (back to back — see if you can increase the intensity on the second set)

Workout Outline

  1. Core Breathing
  2. Alternating Leg Kick Out and Two Circles
  3. Leg Kick Out and Inner Thigh Press
  4. Rolling Plank
  5. Forearm Plank and Alternating Arm Reaches
rolling low plank exercise as part of postpartum recovery ab workout

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Postpartum Abs Advanced

5 Best Postpartum Recovery Exercises (Advanced)

Transverse Abdominal Breathing (Core Breathing)

Targets: The deep transverse abdominal muscles (TVA) and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support your internal organs, your inter-abdominal pressure system, and provide stability and mobility of your lower spine.

advanced postpartum recovery workout TA breathing

How To Do Transverse Abdominal Breathing (Core Breathing)

  1. Start lying on your back, lifting your knees to form a 90-degree angle (knees stacked on top of hips).
  2. To find your transverse abdominis muscles, fake cough. The muscles you feel ‘pop’ when you cough are your transverse abdominis muscles. To engage them, take a deep breath and allow your core and pelvic floor to relax. Imagine there is a string between your hip bones and as you exhale that string (or your TA muscles) is pulling your hip bones together. 
  3. As you inhale, let the belly expand (let your lower back pop off the ground).
  4. As you exhale, pull the belly in tight and think about tucking the tailbone underneath you to press your back into the mat or wall.

Modification: Keep feet planted on the floor to reduce intensity.

Alternating Leg Kick Out and Two Circles 

Targets: Transverse abdomen, upper abs, lower abs and hips.

advanced postpartum recovery workout elevated kickout and two leg circles

How To Do Alternating Leg Kick Out and Two Circles

  1. Start with your low back pressing firmly into the mat and your abdominal wall wrapped as tightly as possibly around your core. Bring your legs to a 90-degree bend.
  2. Alternate extending one leg straight out, then slowly draw two donut-sized circles with the big toe of your extended leg.
  3. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side. This movement is slow and controlled.

Modification: The closer your knees are to your chest, the easier this ab exercise will be. The farther your knees are from your chest, the more intensity you’ll feel.

Leg Kick Out and Inner Thigh Press 

Targets: Deep transverse abdominal muscles (TVA), lower abs and hips.

advanced postpartum recovery workout leg kickout and inner thigh press

How To Do A Leg Kick Out and Inner Thigh Press 

  1. With your low back pressing firmly into the mat and your abdominal wall wrapped as tightly as possible around your core, bring your legs to a 90-degree bend.
  2. Inhale, letting your belly expand.
  3. Exhale as you pull your belly tight and kick your right leg out away from your body.
  4. Take your right hand and press it into your left inner thigh. Shoulders and neck can come off the mat.
  5. Hold this pose, starting with a 3-count and working your way up to a 10-count, breathing through the movement.
  6. Relax, returning your legs to starting position and lowering your head to the floor. Breathe, and repeat.

Modification: Keep your head resting on the floor rather than lifting the shoulder blades. You can also reduce range of motion (bending your extended leg to keep it closer to your body) to reduce the intensity.

Rolling Plank

Targets: The entire core from head to toe including — deep transverse abs, upper abs, lower abs and lower back.

postpartum woman performing a rolling plank or beginner plank

How To Do A Rolling Plank

  1. Start in a beginner plank on your knees — forearms on the mat, shoulders stacked over elbows, both knees on the mat and toes connected to the mat. Straight line from head to tailbone.
  2. Lift your right knee off the mat, straightening through your right leg. Then lift your left knee off the mat.
  3. Hold the forearm plank, both legs extended on toes for a moment; then slowly return one knee to the mat at a time.
  4. Continue this ‘rolling knee’ plank pattern.

Modification: Take your plank up to a raised surface (chair, bench or countertop) to reduce the intensity.

Forearm Plank and Alternating Arm Reach

Targets: Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, transverse abs, shoulders and back.

postpartum woman performing plank and arm reach

How To Do A Forearm Plank and Alternating Arm Reach

  1. Start in a low plank position or forearm plank. Shoulders over elbows, forearms resting on the mat, core engaged. Neutral spine.
  2. Alternate reaching one arm straight in front of you at a time. Fully extend your right arm and tap the mat in front of you, return to the starting position. Then fully extend your left arm and tap the mat in front of you.
  3. 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: Drop to your knees to reduce the intensity.

Pin This Workout: Advanced Bodyweight Postpartum Exercises for New Moms

Pin for pinterest showing postpartum mom doing ab exercises

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