Check your Belly- PART 2- THE WORKOUT!

Hi Mama’s,

So I have given you plenty of time to “check your belly”!  If you are like me and have a wonderful new friend Diastasis Recti not to fear the TUPLER TECHNIQUE aka Mummy Tummy Fixer is here!

Fair warning..I just put away my Wonder Woman cape from Halloween so I may use a lot of super hero references in this post 😉

Lets just get right down to business because if you are like me you have AWESOME..FABULOUS plans for your Friday night.. My plans just might be lounging in my PJ’s, sipping some wine and watching Lifetime but right now that is my version of my Fabulous Friday Night!

***Before you start the program, take pictures of your belly from the front and the side. Your before photos will inspire you to continue doing the program- TRUST ME!

Healing your Diastasis Recti is all about using your Transverse Muscle correctly. Here are 3 things to keep in mind:

1. Gravity affects your ability to engage the transverse muscle; therefore, it is best to exercise in a seated or standing position.

2. Belly breathing puts the transverse muscle in the right starting position, 5th floor,  which I will explain below.

3.  In a back lying position when the shoulders come off the floor, it is impossible to bring the transverse to 5th floor and hold it there which is why sit-ups are a NO NO if you have diastasis.

4. A forward crossover movement will make the diastasis larger. Avoid activities such as tennis or golf until you are healed!

OK so what is this 5th floor thing??

  • Take a belly breath in (you should visibly see your stomach extend as you take in air)
  • As you exhale pull your belly button in as if you were trying to have your belly button reach your back.  NOTE: This is not the same as sucking in as many of us have been know to do to get that “perfect” picture.  When you “suck in” you are sticking your ribs out which you DONT want to do. You want to close your ribs and have your transverse muscles rest in their proper place!
  • This position in which you are pulled in is called- FIFTH FLOOR. Fall in love with this position because you will be here A LOT!

THE WORKOUT:

These are going to be the only 2 exercises you do for 2 weeks.  Try to refrain from weight training and running during this time. You really need to concentrate on healing and retraining your abdominal muscles before going all out with other forms of exercises. Again- TRUST ME!  I learned this the hard way!

EXERCISE #1 ELEVATOR (seated)

  • With ribs in, bring belly to 5th floor and hold it there for 30 counts. Count out loud so you are breathing.
  • Do 10 little squeezes from 5th to 6th floor (so pull your belly button even further back towards your spine)
  • End with a belly breath. Expand belly to first floor (all the way out) and then bring belly to 5th floor on the exhale.
  • That’s 1 set!

EXERCISE #2 CONTRACTING (seated)

  • Ribs are in and hands are resting on upper and lower belly to ensure backward movement.
  • Belly goes from the 3rd to 5th floor (instead of pulling your belly all the way back first like in the Elevator only pull back 1/3 of the way and then squeeze back to 5th floor).
  • Control the release only back to 3rd floor.
  • Make sure you count out loud so you are breathing.
  • 1 set = 100 squeezes going from 3rd to 5th floor!

YOUR GOAL FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS!

WEEK 1:  5 sets of CONTRACTING  & 10 sets of ELEVATORS

WEEK 2: 5 sets of CONTRACTING (but start at 4th floor and squeeze to 5th..the goal is to not relax your muscles as much as you did in Week 1) & 10 sets of ELEVATORS

HELLO…ANYONE THERE???

I know Mama’s it sounds like a lot but Im telling you IT WORKS! Once you learn how to do the exercises it becomes second nature. You can do these driving, cooking dinner and getting ready in the morning but dont try to be a multi-tasking Wonder Woman yet ;).  Focus on doing the exercises correctly and dont rush through them.  Break up your exercises by doing some in the morning, afternoon and night, put in on your to do list and make it a PRIORITY!

THE SPLINT:

If you want to see Super Hero like results I really encourage you to order the Rehab Split. It is recommended that you wear this all the time even while sleeping until you heal. I will admit that I didn’t wear it while sleeping but wore it consistently for 3 weeks especially when doing the exercises.  Here is the link with a video to show you how to put it on!

http://strongtummies.com/home/?shopp_product=diastasis-rehab-splint® (just copy and paste into your browser if the link doesn’t work)

So thats all you need to focus on for now!!

Back to your day you go to fight crime and save cities.. well really it’s off to dirty diapers, dirty dishes and dirty laundry for most of us but you get the point!

Good luck Super Mommies… lets get those bellies back to where they belong!

🙂 Cupcake’s Mommy

PS.. Picture of my belly taken last week 7 weeks after starting the program and the other picture is Cupcake or I should say “Super Cupcake” and I, “Wonder Woman” on Halloween 🙂

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Have you checked your belly?

Hi Mamas!

I must admit I honestly thought my stomach would deflate like a popped balloon after I gave birth.  When that did not happen I thought did they forget to take something out or HOLD UP is there another baby in there. I look back at the pictures following my C-section and my stomach looks like I’m 6 months pregnant! Talk about feeling let down.

Being a dancer all my life honestly has made me a bit critical about my body. Being in the professional dance arena in which you are paid to look “perfect” didn’t help either.  No matter how fit you are pre pregnancy you never really know how your body is going to respond to being pregnant until you go through it. Some women work out and eat healthy and still gain an extreme amount of weight while others pig out and hang up their tennis shoes for 9 months, pop out their baby and the next day look like they never had one.- THAT WASNT ME and if that was you please don’t tell me 😉

I ate pretty healthy and worked out often but I didn’t push myself by any means. Coaching dance and working, at the time, in a sales job kept me active most days which I believe helped to keep my weight gain within the normal range.  Friends and family would always tell me “you will bounce right back and have your 6 pack back in no time “while very discouraging articles and “others” would say you might as well kiss your figure goodbye..those “others” will remain nameless!

Fast forward a bit to 3 months post C-section and I still looked pregnant. Yes I had some extreme gas (sorry just keeping it real) but I was running, weight training and doing abdominal work..so why did I still look like this?

I went back to my OB and he assured me it would just take time for my body to return to a “new normal”..God bless him and his “new normal” statement! He is lucky I like him!! He prescribed some medicine to work on my gas issues but I wasn’t satisfied with that answer..something told me to do some research.

I turned to my trusty pal for which I have a love/hate relationship with, Google, and it was here that I started to find light at the end of the tunnel based on my symptoms:

  • Severe gastro issues following a C section
  • Extreme bloating
  • Appearance of still looking pregnant…

DIASTASIS RECTI…

So turns out that I have this! In other words my abdominal muscles separated during pregnancy and didn’t come back together. So that bulge that made me look slightly pregnant was in fact my intestines!! I know, I know its gross but at least I now knew what I was dealing with.  I was having gastro issues because my intestines were hanging out unsupported by my abdominal wall. They need each other and my abs just said, see ya! Not nice at all! And you know all of that core work I did as soon as I got cleared to exercise??…that just MADE IT WORSE! (gravity was not my friend)

Why didn’t my OB tell me about this or check me for this? Well the truth of the matter is your OB is concerned about keeping you and your baby alive, whether or not you flaunt flat abs in a bikini in the near future is not on his/her lists of concerns but its on mine!!

You see I think a lot more women could rock flatter abs after childbirth if they just knew what to do and NOT to do.  MOST IMPORTANTLY..All women should check their bellies for a diastasis recti!

SO HOW DO YOU CHECK…

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the floor.

2. Place one hand behind your head, and the other hand on your abdomen, with your fingertips across your midline-parallel with your waistline- at the level of your belly button.

3. With your abdominal wall relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.

4. Roll your upper body off the floor into a “crunch,” making sure that your ribcage moves closer to your pelvis.

5. Move your fingertips back and forth across your midline, feeling for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominal muscle. Test for separation at, above, and below your belly button.

Use Correct Form for an Accurate Assessment…

  • Make sure that you don’t simply pull your head off the mat-a common mistake. To effectively contract your abs, you need to move your ribcage closer to you pelvis. If you don’t adequately activate your abdominal wall, you might assume that you have abdominal separation. But for most, as the rib cage moves closer to the pelvis and the contraction deepens, the width of the gap at your midline will decrease.
  • Don’t panic if you feel a “hole” in your belly in the first few postpartum weeks. Everyone’s connective tissue at the midline is lax after childbirth. As you recover, your midline will slowly regain its former density and elasticity, and the “hole” will become shallower, and if you do the right exercises, more narrow too.

Signs of Diastasis Recti/Abdominal Separation…

  • A gap of more than 2 1/2 finger-widths when the rectus abdominis is fully contracted.
  • The gap does not shrink as you contract your abdominal wall.
  • You can see a small mound protruding along the length of you midline.

So…do you have one??

If the answer is YES..here is your homework..

STOP DOING THE FOLLOWING:

  • Pushups
  • Planks
  • Sit-ups

These will only make it worse!

I’m in week 4 of my rehab for my diastasis recti and the results are incredible…

My next blog post will feature the exercises and tools I am using that have helped me.  I’m only an email away if you have questions until then!

In the meantime start telling yourself that you CAN have a flat stomach again..its possible mama’s.

Contract your abs three times and tell them “There’s no place like home” 😉

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Picture taken about 3 months post C-section (April 2013). Will include recent pictures in my next blog post to document progress made using the Tupler Technique designed specifically for closing your abdominal separation!