Most moms will agree that children are a blessing, but that blessing sometimes comes with a price — sagging, extra skin and fat around the stomach. Realistically, it’s impossible to get a completely flat stomach after childbirth without a little nip and tuck surgery, but some good old-fashioned exercise can go a long way toward flattening your stomach and improving your health, appearance and self-esteem.
The Plank is a great way to work core abdominal muscles, according to both AskTheTrainer.com and “Women’s Health” magazine. This workout targets the muscles that will give you a small, flat stomach quickly. Lower your body as if you are going to do a push-up, but rest your forearms on the floor instead of your hands. Bring your fist together so that they are touching and your forearms are forming a V-shape with your elbows forming right angles. Your toes should be against the floor, legs straight, and your body in a straight line.
Tighten your abs and hold them for as long as you can. Sixty seconds is the goal, but try doing it for 10-second intervals if it is too difficult to reach 60 seconds at first. Make sure your bottom and hips stay steady. As you progress, try lifting one arm and positioning it so that you are pointing straight ahead with it, with the arm even with your ear. Hold the position for 10 seconds, then rest for five, and repeat with the other arm. Do this until you have lifted each arm five times, then rest and repeat the set.
This workout targets the transverse abs, which are key to a flat stomach, according to Pregnancy Info. Lie down on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet flat against the ground. Rest your hands on your stomach, below the belly button. Press your third and fourth fingers into your lower abdomen. Then, tighten your muscles toward the floor, without moving your hips or stomach.
You should be able to feel the tightened muscles under your fingers. Hold the muscles tight for 10 seconds or so, then relax for five seconds. Repeat until you have done it 10 times. Don’t forget to breathe.
This is another exercise that is good for tightening the transverse muscles, which are often the muscles most damaged by childbirth. Lie on the floor on your back, with your feet flat against the ground and your knees bend. Place your palms flat against the ground on either side of your body. Then, slowly raise your pelvis off the ground. Keep your pelvis in the air for a few seconds, then slowly lower it back down. Do this 15 times, then rest for a few minutes and do the set again. Ideally, you should be able to perform three sets of 15 reps.