6 EXERCISES TO HELP CLOSE YOUR ABDOMINAL SEPARATION
One of the most common questions I get asked is for exercises to help repair separation of the abs so below I share 5 exercises you can practice to repair the separation and most importantly strengthen your pelvic floor.
Perform these exercises 2-3 times per week plus your Kegels DAILY!
1. PELVIC TILTS: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Inhale. Exhale as you Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and tilting your pelvis up slightly and pressing your belly button toward your spine. You can also perform this movement standing or on a Swiss ball. You can Hold for 3-5 seconds or do faster pulses. REPEAT 10 - 15 TIMES and do 2-3 sets
2. GLUTE BRIDGE: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you. Gently contract your abs and pelvic muscles to flatten your lower back into the floor (like a pelvic tilt). Maintain this PF and ab contraction throughout the exercise. Inhale. Exhale as you Lift your hips up off the floor. Press your heels into the floor. Make sure you don't lift too high and cause hyperextension (arching) in your lower back. Hold for 2 seconds and Lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat 15 times & 2- 3 sets.
Progression: At top (while hips are lifted) extend one leg and then lower on each side then lower OR hold glute bridge for 30-45 seconds.
3. HEEL SLIDES: Lay on your back with your hands by your side in neutral spine. Gently contract your pelvic floor, push your back into the floor and tighten abdominal muscles and hold through out movement. Inhale. Exhale as you Slowly straighten one knee and inhale as you return to the starting position. Keep your spine and pelvis completely still and don’t forget to breathe. Repeat 10 - 15 times alternating legs and 2-3 sets.
PROGRESSION: At the end of the movement when your leg is straightened gently lift your leg up off the frown about 10-15cm and lower back down before returning to start position.
4. TOWEL PULLS (QUARTER CRUNCHES WITH TOWEL): Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put a towel across upper shins and hold each end. Pull the ends of the towel and squeeze thighs together. Inhale & then exhale as you draw your abs in and lift only your shoulders off the floor. Keep your chin tucked . Repeat 10 time and do 2-3 sets.
5. WALL PUSH-UPS: Face the wall with feet hip width apart. Contract and draw in your PF and abdominals so that your body is in a straight line and there is no hyperextending of the back. Place hands on the wall inhale as you lower yourself toward the wall and exhale as you perform push up movement by pushing yourself away from the wall. If you do not have severe abdominal separation (2 or more finger width) you can perform this movement on knees. Only perform full push up movement once separation is completely healed.
Repeat 10 time and do 2-3 sets.
6. MODIFIED SINGLE LEG DROP Laying on back as picture with hands underneath the curve in your back. Press your back into your hands and your pull your bellybutton toward the spine. Inhale. Exhale as you lower one leg toward the ground but don’t touch. Return to start position and repeat on opposite side.
NOTE: If separation is over 3cm or you can feel a buldge between the abdominals when you drop the leg perform movement with the non- working leg on the ground rather than elevated.
Hope this helps you to get started in repairing your separation.
it is important to continue to breathe through the exercises to ensure you are not creating any extra pressure to the core and pelvic floor. Inhale through the nose and exhale completely through the mouth. The exhale occurs on the exertion (hard part) of the movement. Never hold your breath. If you feel like you need to or can’t perform a movement without holding your breath please don’t perform and seek the advice of a women’s health physio.
Please remember this info is generalized and does not take in to consideration your personal circumstances. I HIGHLY recommend seeing a women's health physio to get an overview of the condition of your abdominal wall and pelvic floor before returning to any type of exercise. You MUST also gain medical clearance from your GP or OB before returning to exercise post baby.