The article is a subjective view on this topic written by writers specializing in medical writing.
It may reflect on a personal journey surrounding struggles with an illness or medical condition, involve product comparisons, diet considerations, or other health-related opinions.
Although the view is entirely that of the writer, it is based on academic experiences and scientific research they have conducted; it is fact-checked by a team of degreed medical experts, and validated by sources attached to the article.
The numbers in parenthesis (1,2,3) will take you to clickable links to related scientific papers.
Postpartum Ab Workout: 7 Exercises For A Stronger Core In 2024
After giving birth, many new moms are eager to get back into shape and regain their pre-pregnancy bodies. A postpartum ab workout can be a great way to help tone and strengthen the abdominal muscles.
You can try a fat burner, but it’s probably best to use a postpartum belly workout instead or in addition. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best postpartum ab workouts for new moms and some things to consider before starting an exercise routine.
7 Postpartum Core Exercises To Increase Core Strength
The following ab exercises are great for strengthening the core post-pregnancy:
- Pelvic Tilt.
- Single-Leg Extension.
- Side Plank.
- The Bird Dog.
- The Dead Bug.
7 Best Postpartum Ab Workouts For New Moms
The Pelvic Tilt is a simple yet effective exercise targeting the deep core muscles, including the lower abdominal and pelvic floor. This exercise can help improve posture, reduce lower back pain, and strengthen the abdominal muscles after pregnancy.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Take a deep inhale while drawing your abs in. Slightly tuck your pelvis under while you squeeze your glutes and perform a Kegel. Hold for five to ten seconds while breathing normally.
- Exhale as you return to the starting position.
- Do ten reps.
The Single-Leg Extension is an exercise that targets the lower abdominals and hip flexors. It’s a great exercise for improving core stability and strength and toning the abdominal muscles.
- Lay on your back and have your knees bent and feet planted on the floor with your arms resting at your side, palms down.
- Straighten one leg and lower it towards the floor while your other knee stays bent.
- Bring the straight leg back to the initial tabletop position.
- Build up to 20 reps on each side to achieve the best results.
Kegels are an exercise that targets the pelvic floor muscles and is often used for pelvic organ prolapse. These muscles support the bladder, bowel, and uterus and can become weakened during pregnancy and childbirth. Kegels can help strengthen these muscles, improving bladder control and reducing the risk of incontinence.
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your back flat.
- Tighten your abdominals and tuck in your pelvis slightly as you tighten your pelvic floor muscles.
- Keep the muscles contracted and hold for three to five seconds. Release before repeating.
- Perform a total of ten to 12 reps.
The Plank is a classic belly exercise that targets the entire core, including the abdominals, obliques, and back muscles. It’s a great exercise for improving core stability and strength and toning the abdominal muscles.
- Start in a push-up position with your arms extended, but instead of resting on your hands, rest on your forearms.
- Your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Hold this position for as long as you can, keeping your core tight and your hips level. One minute is a great goal. Once you have held this position for a predetermined amount of time, that is one complete set, and you can release it.
The Side Plank is a variation of the classic plank that targets the obliques and the deep core muscles. This exercise can help improve core stability and strength and tone the abdominal muscles. The side plank can also be adjusted to different difficulty levels.
- Start by lying on your side with your legs extended.
- Prop yourself up on your forearm, ensuring your elbow is directly under your shoulder.
- Lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Hold this position for as long as possible, and return to starting position.
- Then switch sides and repeat.
- Do 30 seconds on each side if you can.
The Bird Dog
The Bird Dog is an exercise that targets the deep core muscles, including the lower abdominals and back muscles. It’s a great exercise for improving core stability and strength and toning the abdominal muscles. This is another workout that easily adjusts for different levels.
- Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Extend one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously, keeping your core tight and your back flat.
- Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- Do eight to ten reps on each side.
The Dead Bug
The Dead Bug is an exercise that targets the deep core muscles, including the lower abdominals and hip flexors. The dead bug can be easily modified to suit different fitness levels, making it a great option for new moms.
- Lie on your back with your arms and legs held above you and off the floor. Your arms should be straight, and your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Tense up your abdominals as you slowly lower your right arm above your head toward the floor, extend your left leg, and lower it toward the floor.
- Pause for a moment when your right arm and left leg are an inch above the ground.
- Slowly bring your arm and leg back to the starting position before repeating with your left arm and right leg.
- Do ten reps on each side.
Is It Safe To Do A Workout After Pregnancy?
Yes, it is generally safe to do ab workouts after pregnancy. However, it’s important to wait until you’ve been cleared by your doctor before starting any exercise routine. This is typically around six weeks after giving birth, but it can vary depending on the individual and their delivery type.
These aren’t going to be intense muscle-building sessions; they’re for getting back into your routine and maybe losing a bit of that postpartum fat. It’s also important to start slowly and listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, stop and consult with your doctor.
Things To Consider
Before starting any postpartum ab workout, it’s important to consider the following things:
Wait Until You’ve Been Cleared By Your Doctor
You should definitely talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine. The timing varies a lot depending on the individual and the delivery type. Many people can start within a few days, but in some circumstances – like a C-section – the timeline might be more like six weeks.
Since it varies so much, talk to a doctor or an OB-GYN before starting to exercise after pregnancy.
Start with one or two simple exercises and a very brief workout, and build up to more intense postpartum core exercises over time. Even if you’re doing the best postpartum ab exercises, you must take it slow and ensure your body is comfortable with what you’re doing.
Also, a common mistake is holding your breath at the beginning of an abdominal exercise. You want to avoid this, as it leads to a buildup of lactic acid and cramping. Inhale during muscle engagement and exhale upon release.
Consider Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy. Certain abdominal exercises may not be appropriate for you if you have diastasis recti and abdominal muscle separation.
Pay Attention To Nutrition
A postpartum ab workout can be a great way to help tone and strengthen the abdominal muscles after giving birth. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing the right exercises and that you’re doing them safely. Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can typically begin ab exercises around six weeks after giving birth, but it’s important to wait until your doctor has cleared you.
Yes, squats can be a great exercise for postpartum women as long as they are done correctly and with proper form.
Yes, as long as your doctor has cleared you and you are listening to your body.
Pregnancy can put a lot of strain on the abdominal muscles, causing them to weaken. Additionally, hormones released during pregnancy can cause the muscles to relax, making them weaker.
+ 2 sources
Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here
- Majken Lyhne Jessen, Stina Öberg and Rosenberg, J. (2019). Treatment Options for Abdominal Rectus Diastasis. [online] 6. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fsurg.2019.00065.
- Kominiarek, M.A. and Rajan, P.V. (2016). Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation. [online] 100(6), pp.1199–1215. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2016.06.004.