Do you find that doing crunches, sit ups and planks just don’t give you the same results as when you were in your 20s? Or do your abs bulge or look strange when you try to do a sit up?
Think of the abdomen as being like a pressure canister. If when you crunch or do a sit up the pressure makes your lower abs bulge, then that pressure is also likely making your pelvic floor bulge as well.
This is bad because it can cause leaking, and even prolapse symptoms. So if you were thinking that leaking is “just a part of being a mom”, it’s not. It’s a pressure management issue.
There are plenty of ways in which you can strengthen your core that do not involve this high pressure situation. Which means that crunches are actually your least effective option at this point.
I’m assuming you’ve already done my free pelvic floor training to learn how to better manage this pressure (if you haven’t, the link is at the bottom).
Here are my 3 favorite ways to incorporate that technique into some ab strengthening using a Pilates ball:
1. Ball Push
Lie on your back with your knees bent, your heels close to your tush, and your legs together.
Place the ball on the front of your thighs.
Take an inhale first. As you exhale, think about lifting up all of your internal organs and wrapping around with your TA as you push on the ball (without lifting your head and without pushing your low back down into the mat).
Keep inhaling and exhaling, and on each exhale, push on the ball to deepen the connection in your core.
As you inhale, try not to let the front of your ribcage rise. Move with your breath.
2. Diagonal Ball Push
Bring one leg into table top.
With the opposite hand, bring the ball against your inner thigh.
Using the same principles as before, as you exhale, push into the ball (without moving your leg or pelvis).
Think about making the push energy come from your core instead of from your arm.
3. Reverse Crunch
Place the ball in between your shoulder blades and your hands behind your head.
As you inhale, extend your upper back over the ball. As you exhale, think about lifting up with all of your internal organs, wrap around tightly with your TA, and isometrically use your abs to pull your upper body into a straight line (not all the way into a crunch), just into a straight line.
Use more abdominal engagement than you feel you need to.
As you inhale, be sure to keep some of your engagement to slowly lower you back down. Move with your breath.
There are plenty more exercises like these inside my online programs.
What's the difference between Restore and the Mama Method?