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Post Partum Planks - dont be one...

There is a common theme that comes through when I speak to Post-Partum women or when I read posts in groups, blogs and Facebook and that is getting there body/belly back to how it was before pregnancy. I have 2 kids, so I TOTALLY get this… but I also understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this*. While there are many safe postpartum exercises to help your stomach muscles tighten, there are also a lot that a counterproductive to your goals. One of the main ones I see women doing is the front plank. Don’t get me wrong, the front plank is great a great move. It utilises all the abdominal muscles and while maintaining a neutral spine and requires minimal movement or impact. YAY. However, the front plank is less than ideal for the post-partum women and in fact can cause more damage in some cases. Here’s why: When you’re pregnant, your stomach muscles stretch, the transverse abdominals act as a sling wrapping around and under to support your bump and the rectus abdominus (your ‘6 pack’) supports at the front. The Linea Alba runs down the middle of your 6 pack and this gets stretched as well. So here is the problem with front planks (and situps, hollow holds etc) – the pressure created inside your stomach during these movements (intra-abdominal pressure) is forcing your stomach muscles apart. You want them to be drawn in and tightened, not pushed apart. You can sometimes actually see this as a doming or while in a plank position your stomach pushing down onto the weakened midline (Linea Alba) and hanging out. Either way, the forces pushing the muscles apart. So, what to do then…. Give a side plank a try. These engage the Transverse Abdominal however remove pressure form the midline. Start of slowly, start on your elbow and knee and gradually build up from there. *I have 3 separate qualifications on Post Natal Exercise. Chances are, if your trainer is getting you to do planks, the're not qualified to be training the post-partum population…

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