When you think about your core, you may not initially think about your pelvic floor. But in fact the pelvic floor forms the base of the core muscles, working deeply with the abdominals, back, and diaphragm to support the spine and control pressure in the stomach. Strengthening your transverse abdominal and pelvic floor muscles during and after pregnancy is important for both childbirth and postnatal recovery.
Most people immediately think of kegels when talking about the pelvic floor and while they absolutely do the job, there are many other great exercises you can do to strengthen these muscles - this is where dance-inspired fitness comes in. The way we train as dancers promotes strengthening the pelvic floor, taking the approach of working the core from the inside out. When you hear your DB Trainer say “pull up on your abs” during dance cardio and sculpt, this initiates the transverse abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. So, before we even perform an “exercise” you are already strengthening these muscles, which is important for everyone, especially our DanceBody Moms!
Tips for Exercising Post Baby
When you are ready to return to working out after giving birth, my advice is always to work one-on-one with a DanceBody Trainer so that you can build a program that works for you. You will want to go slow and be patient with yourself during this time as your body has just undergone a major change. Jumping straight into a high intensity class might be uncomfortable and scary but by working up to that slowly and safely, you will be back and stronger than ever.
Try these exercises at home!
The exercises below are specific to the transverse abdominals and pelvic floor which will help you focus on strategically rebuilding your core from the inside out. I recommend doing these exercises more days than not (even daily if you can fit them in). Performing these before exercise helps you activate the muscles and "wake them up," which will set you up for success for your workout, especially when doing cardio:
Laying on your back with knees bent and feet planted on the floor, take a deep inhale. As you exhale, roll up through your lower spine lifting your hips off the floor, drawing your low abs in and up (think scooping your belly button to spine) as you push your hips to the ceiling. Keep your abs tight and your rib cage closed at the top (no arched back). Take one breath in and out, hold for three seconds and slowly lower down. Repeat 20x.
Laying on your back with both legs extended out on the floor in a "V", take a deep inhale. As you exhale, draw one heel along the floor to a bent leg, pulling your navel to spine. Extend the same leg back out straight on the inhale. Switch to the other side. Repeat 15x each side then do both legs together 15x.
Inner Thigh to Extension
Lay on your back with left leg bent and foot planted on floor and right leg at a table top position: knee over hip. Keeping your left leg and hip stable on the floor, inhale to start and as you exhale cross your right knee over your left squeezing your inner thighs and then extend the same leg out to the side at a 45 degree angle on the inhale. Repeat 20x each side.
Exercising postpartum is a great way to relieve stress, promote better sleep, and boost your energy and mood (hello endorphins!!). Being a new mom can be a crazy process, which is why it's even more important to make time for YOU -- investing in yourself and committing to a workout is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind!
COO + Co-Founder