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Bye Bye Belly!

Fitness and exercise after pregnancy is a lot more complicated than that. Abdominal separation, a fairly common occurrence during the latter part of pregnancy and the postpartum period, causes the right and left sides of the Rectus Abdominis to separate along the linea alba. In fact, post pregnancy exercises like crunches done wrongly, may actually do more harm than good in the initial postpartum period, causing a bigger separation and resulting in a protruding belly.

To appreciate the subtleties of exercise after pregnancy and particularly postpartum abdominal reconditioning, it’s helpful have a basic understanding of the structure and functions of your abdominal wall. The deepest layer of the abdominal wall, and the most important in postpartum exercise, is the Transverse Abdominis. It’s fibers run across the abdomen and performs abdominal compression, which draws the belly inward, and narrows the waist. Fitness trainers refer to this muscle as the body’s “internal girdle.”

After pregnancy, contraction of the Transverse Abdominis acts like an internal splint, helping to close abdominal separation from the inside. It’s the body’s most important core stabilizer and is responsible for re-flattening the abdominal wall after pregnancy. That's why the first step in exercise after pregnancy and rebuilding the abdominal wall is the development of strength and functional control in the Transverse Abdominis.

A critical component for restoring your abs and the development of core strength is learning to control the shape of your abdominal wall during post pregnancy exercise. To do this, you need to train your abs to pull back in toward your spine during exertion. The quickest and safest way to develop a flat abdominal wall after pregnancy is to perform special post pregnancy exercises that specifically develop this essential skill.

Do this special post pregnancy exercise designed to strengthen your Transverse Abdominis :

- First, stand up tall, then think about drawing your belly button towards your spine.

- You are not sucking in your breath, you are using your abs to do this. Once your belly button is drawn in, it automatically activates your Transverse Abdominis muscle.

- Try to keep your belly button in as you breathe normally. Practice a few times until it becomes comfortable. Do this whenever you are exercising and you will be working your Transverse Abdominis and strengthening yourself from the inside out for a flatter tummy faster!
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