After having a baby, many women are excited to get back to their pre-baby workout routine. Whether it’s yoga, running, weight-lifting, or a barre class, we want to teach you the number one exercise you should do after having a baby BEFORE you start any other activity.
Regardless of whether you have a C-section or vaginal delivery, this is the single most important exercise to master before you start working out.
Engage Your Transverse Abdominis!
The deepest layer of your abdominal muscles is called the Transverse Abdominis. This muscle group is important because it stabilizes your pelvis and low back, plays a role in decreasing incontinence, and helps stabilize and close a diastasis recti.
There can be a lot of different ways to use your other muscles to compensate during this exercise, so if you feel like you are compensating, it’s important to have your transverse abdominis strength evaluated by a professional.
To learn how to engage your transverse abdominis, check out the video below featuring Hina and Elayne or read the steps below:
How to Engage Your Transverse Abdominis:
1.Get into good pelvic alignment. To do that, place one hand on your pubic bone and the other hand on your sternum. Make sure your pelvic bone and sternum are flat, meaning they aren’t tilted too far forward or back. Adjust by tilting your pelvis backward or forward to get it flat and parallel to the floor. Once you have neutral alignment in your pelvis, remove your hands and keep that posture.
2. Place your hands an inch above and an inch in from the two pelvic bones you feel on your pelvis. With this placement, you will be on the area of your Transverse Abdominis.
3. Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out and make a “shhhh” sound as you exhale. When you do, you should feel a tensioning underneath your fingers that feels similar to saran wrap going over a bowl—that means you’ve engaged your Transverse Abdominis. If you feel a bulging and it doesn’t feel like saran wrap, it means you’re compensating with other muscles in your abdomen.
4. After you find your Transverse Abdominis muscles, repeat and when you feel that tensioning, stop and try to maintain the contraction for about 10 seconds as you breathe normally in and out. You want to work your way up to doing it 10 times and holding it for 10 seconds. You can do this 2-3 times per day.
5. After you get comfortable doing this laying down, you can try it in different positions, such as sitting, standing, or on all fours.
6. Once you’ve mastered this action, incorporate it into all your other workouts. Before you do any type of movement, you want to engage your transverse abdominis to adequately support and protect your core.
Unsure if you’re doing it right?
Contact the experienced physical therapists at Rebalance Physical Therapy. Our team of experienced physical therapists can help you learn to engage your transverse abdominis and provide safe progressions as you return to physical activity. We can also help with other postpartum conditions or pelvic floor dysfunctions to help you get back to feeling like yourself.
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