The Best Beginner Core Exercise Recommended For Moms | Video

by Mar 1, 2019Diastasis Recti, Family Fitness, Focused Friday, Postpartum Workouts2 comments

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

 

Are you more interested in how to engage your core muscles postpartum? Or maybe you are not quite postpartum anymore but you had a baby years ago and you are fed up with the looseness in your mid section. Maybe you are pregnant and looking to maintain your core strength or regain stability around your trunk as your belly continues to grow.

 

In this article you will learn the primary core exercise that physical therapists teach all their women’s health and/or back pain patients (including pregnant and postpartum women).  For those women who suffer from Diastasis Recti, this is definitely the 1st exercise to attempt and most important for restoration. This exercise is the basis of all core strengthening and will ultimately help you engage your core muscles the proper way.

 

After finishing this article you will have confidence in your ability to activate the abdominal muscles properly from the comfort of your own home without any equipment. Plus you will be able to maximize your entire core workout when learning how to implement this one important exercise into your abdominal workout routine thus giving you better results.

 

There is also a video provided for further education at the end of this post.

The Most Important Core Exercise For Beginners: Abdominal Bracing

 

What is it and why is it so important?

I will explain step by step how to perform the Abdominal Bracing exercise, but first, why is this exercise so important?

If you are just starting out with core strengthening, you’ll want to start with this one exercise before beginning any other core exercise out there.

 

Related: 10 Easy & Safe Core Exercises For Your Postpartum Workout 

 

Having a clear understanding of the basic abdominal bracing exercise will set you up for success for all other core strengthening exercises that you incorporate in your workout routine.

 

If you are able to perform the exercise “abdominal bracing” properly throughout your entire workout, then you are setting yourself up for fitness success!

 

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    Benefits Of Abdominal Bracing

    1. Increased strength: Tightens the surrounding muscles of your core

    2. Increased stability of your spine: Your vertebrae have improved stability

    3. Less likely to have back injuries

    4. Improved technique and form for all other exercises during your workout

    5. Improved posture throughout your daily activities

    Who Should Be Doing Abdominal Bracing?

    This exercise is the most widely used core stabilization exercise in the physical therapy field.

     

    If a patient comes in with back pain and they are ready to start engaging the core muscles as part of their program, I begin with introducing the abdominal bracing exercise.

     

    Like I said earlier, it’s a great beginner exercise not because it’s easy but because it’s safe and effective. And it’s beneficial to about anyone, including postpartum women.

    Related: 5 Postpartum Fitness Ideas for Mom and Baby by MamaBuzz

     

    It is very rare to get an injury from performing abdominal bracing since it’s a static exercise (no movement between joints but only muscle contraction). Therapists call this an isometric exercise.

     

    I love this exercise for women who are pregnant! It can be performed during all trimesters! Yep, even with a huge pregnant belly, you can contract those ab muscles. Keep reading and I’ll teach you how.

    No matter your age or stage of life, this exercise is perfect for everyone!

      

    It’s also great for postpartum women. After giving birth, this exercise is a safe way to start engaging your core without risk of injury. Always get approval from your doctor before beginning any exercises postpartum.

     

    Maybe you had a c-section. When you have been given the green light from your doctor, this exercise is the best way to start doing core activating exercises.

     

     Related15 Best Mommy & Me Exercises With Baby + Video

     

    And even if you gave birth 3 or maybe 5 plus years ago and you have never done an exercise in your life, you can start now with this exercise.

    How To Properly Perform Abdominal Bracing Exercise

     

    I bet you are wondering, “How do I actually do this exercise called abdominal bracing?”.

     

    Let’s get right to it!

     

    Get down the on the floor, lie down in your bed or find a flat surface that is comfortable for you. A couch will work also.

    Once you are lying down, bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Relax your arms at your side To perform this exercise you want to engage your transverse abdominis muscle, the muscle that surrounds your trunk. You can do this by tightening your belly, drawing your belly button down to the floor, and flattening your back all at the same time  

     

     Review Of Abdominal Bracing Technique

     

    To review:

     

    Tighten your belly. 

     

    Pull your belly button down (towards the floor)

    Flatten your back (opposite motion of arching your back), you can check to see if you are doing this right by trying to slide your hand under your back. You should not be able to.

     The best way to describe the feeling of this contraction is if you were bracing yourself in preparation to being punched in the stomach! Ouch! Get ready, I’m about to punch you…..

     

    PUNCH!!!

     

    Did you tighten your belly muscles to protect your insides from getting hurt? If you did, then you did the exercise right.

     

    It’s not an exercise that requires movement; however, it’s an exercise that involves a lot of muscle contractions in a finite way. Stable and steady.

     

    Once you are able to make the abdominal bracing contraction, I want you to try to hold that contraction for 5 seconds.

     

    Related: How To Modify The Best Beginner Core Exercise For Moms

     

    It’s important that you don’t hold your breath but count out loud. Counting out loud helps you to breathe more naturally.

     

    It is impossible to count out loud while holding your breath. Try it if you don’t believe me!

     

    Once you feel comfortable holding your contraction for 5 seconds, the next goal is to work up to a 10 second hold.

     

    Work on this exercise for a total of 5 minutes a day in the lying down position.

    Performing Abdominal Bracing In Various Positions

     

    The great thing about this exercise is that you can perform it in various positions, during different daily activities and within your total body workout routine. Make sure your check out my other post explaining different variations of the abdominal bracing exercise.

     

    Don’t forget to check out the video below to help you visualize how to perform this exercise properly.

     

    Let me know what you thought of this exercise. Did you think it was helpful in your fitness journey? If you have any questions or comments, you can always leave a message below in the comments sections. I would love to hear from you, and I’m always here to help.  

    Keep Smiling,

    Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT

    This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

    **It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Perform exercises at your own risk.

     

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    2 Comments

    1. Melissa

      I came across your blog while searching for postpartum exercises to strengthen my core. I have a really bad back and haven’t looked after my core muscles well for the past 12 years and 6 babies! I’m really paying for it now, being 5 months postpartum with my 6th baby. Your blog looks very helpful and I will be doing this exercise daily!

      Reply
      • Jena Bradley

        Hi Melissa, thanks for following along with the blog! 6 babies! Wooh! You go girl! I don’t think I’ll be able to catch up 🙂 But I would love to help you strengthen your core the right way and manage the back pain. Be sure to use these beginner exercises for a while until your back pain decreases substantially. Feel free to always contact me privately if you have any specific questions.

        Reply

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    Hi there, friend! I’m Jena, a mom of 4 and a Physical Therapist with a passion to motivate moms! I want to inspire you to be your best self by sharing my experiences and trusted advice on motherhood, health and fitness.

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