When most people hear the word core they think of the main abdominal muscles that make up that coveted six-pack. However, there are SEVEN important abdominal muscles we need to be focusing on: The Rectus Abdominis, Transverse Adbominis, Internal Obliques, External Obliques, Intercoastal Muscles, Rectus Sheath, and Linea Alba all make up your core. Today, we are going to focus on the Transverse Abdominis (TA). This is the deepest of the four main ab muscles and is one of muscles you feel contract during labor. The TA essentially acts as Spanx for your core, providing stabilization for your pelvis and helping to take some of the pressure off of the joints.
A strong TA along with a strong Pelvic Floor connection (which we will go into depth about soon) can help push your baby out faster and flatten your belly after delivery!
My favorite of many deep core exercises are the Reach and Curl and Hip Rolls. Remember, when working your TA you should be, "Hugging your baby," pulling the abs up and in.
All of these exercises can be seen on Knocked Up Fitness!
Reach and Curl
- Begin on a mat on all fours. You can also elevate the movement and place your hands on a box. Slow and steady, reach your right leg and left arm so they are parallel with the floor.
- Exhale, engaging the TA and pulling your abs in and up, bring your arm and leg in until the elbow meets the knee (if you can't get there it's okay!).
- Slowly repeat this movement adding a small arch in the back each time.
- Do 5-10 repetitions
Note: Great for 1st trimester if you and your doctor feel comfortable with you lying on your back
- Lie flat on your back on a mat. Keep your feet hip-width apart, knees bent, and feet planted into the floor.
- Exhale, gently engaging your TA and preforming a kegel (great kegel tools to come on wagsredefined.com and knockedupfitness.com). Slowly lift your hips off the ground, squeezing the glutes and pressing the heels down, articulating one vertebra at a time until the entire back is off the ground.
- Slow and steady, roll the back down, one vertebra at a time. Drawing the ribcage down first, gently press each vertebra into your mat while continuously hugging your baby and performing your kegel.
- Do 5-10 repetitions
Your workout doesn't have to last longer than 30 minutes if you are focusing on the right movements! Happy tightening!
Editor's Note: Always consult with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise regimen!