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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to Train Your Abs During Pregnancy (16 Weeks)

Consult your physician or obstetrician before you try any of the exercises I recommend below.

Abs, what abs? I don't see no stinking abs...anymore. Actually, I never used to be one of those women who was blessed with the ability to have 6 pack abs that other people could actually see, no matter how much I trained them. The only way I would have been able to show them off would have been to diet to the point of emaciation, which I was never prepared to do. Besides, I think other people like me better when I'm not irritable because I starved myself of carbohydrates for prolonged periods of time.

In spite of the lack of what was visible, I had really strong abs before I became pregnant. And shortly after I became pregnant, I still had strong abs. I trained them in the same way I had trained them pre-pregnancy, using many variations of crunches with equipment like the stability ball and bosu. These were intermediate-advanced types of exercises.

Over time, my belly has stretched as my baby grows inside me. Now, as I approach my fourth month, the advanced ab exercises have gone out the window, replaced by the good-old-regular crunch. Not that I planned it that way, but crunches have become enough of a challenge for my abs that I don't need to do all the fancy-dancy stuff I used to. This goes to show how important it is for you to listen to your body, especially as it changes during pregnancy.

The Benefits of Training your Abs During Pregnancy

Keeping your abs strong during pregnancy can help prevent the common occurrence of back pain as your growing belly puts more stress on your lower back. Strong abs also will help you push during delivery, as well as help to speed your recovery. 

The Not-So-Nice News: Diastasis Recti
"Diastasis what?" Yes ladies, there's something weird and wonderful that happens to your abs as your belly expands into the later months of pregnancy: they separate. This is known as Diastasis Recti, and while most women go though pregnancy without experiencing dramatic changes to their abs, about 45% of women get some degree of ab separation during pregnancy. 

Let me explain what actually happens. The muscle you are looking at when you see someone with a 6-pack on their tummies is called the Rectus Abdominus. This muscles is made up of two sections, one that runs from your ribs down past the left of your belly button, and one on that runs down the right side (see pic below). In the middle holding both sides together is a strip of tissue called the fascia. As your belly expands during pregnancy, this fascia stretches. The bigger you get, the more the fascia will stretch. This creates the appearance that your abs are separating. This is a painless condition, and it tends to happen to women who are overweight, have short torsos, or who've had multiple pregnancies.

I can't tell you how unimpressed I was to learn about the possibility of this happening to me. Although I am not overweight, nor have I had multiple pregnancies (yet), I have a short torso. I won't post any of the pics I saw of post-partum bellies showing separated abs, but suffice it to say it wasn't pretty. Yes, this is purely in an issue of vanity: Diastasis Recti is not a dangerous condition and will not cause you any pain. 

The best way I like to handle a problem is to see if I can do something about it. So I researched ways to minimize the chances that this could happen to me. I'm pleased to report, I found some light at the end of the tunnel.

Prevention and Treatment of Diastasis Recti
While there's no real way to completely prevent your abs from separating during pregnancy, there are ways you can reduce your chances of it happening. First, it's best to start out in good shape: having strong abs and a healthy weight is the first step.

Next, you need to change how you train your abs when you are pregnant and after you give birth. Most ab exercises you did before pregnancy like crunches and oblique crunches (your obliques are the muscles located to the sides of your rectus abdominus; also known as "love handles") focus on our external ab muscles (the ones directly below your skin). You need to change your focus to your inner ab muscle, the Transverse Abdominus (see pic below). Your Transverse Abodominus is your natural stomach girdle; it's the muscle that pulls in your bellybutton whenever you tighten your abs.

Ab Exercises to Do During Pregnancy
Until you reach your 2nd trimester, there's no need to stop doing crunches. In your second trimester onwards, you need to modify these exercises. I'm not going to re-invent the wheel here. There are plenty of great resources online that explain the kinds of ab exercises you can do while you're pregnant. Here are the ones that I liked:



  1. Good day! Did you somehow manage to execute all the options of your portal by yourself or you asked for some help?

    1. Did you know that the vast majority of people in this day and age have excess abdominal fat? The first thing that most people think of is that their extra abdominal fat is simply ugly, is covering up their abs from being visible.

      However, what most people don't realize is that excess abdominal fat in particular, is not only ugly, but is also a dangerous risk factor to your health. Scientific research has clearly demonstrated that although it is unhealthy in general to have excess body fat throughout your body, it is also particularly dangerous to have excess abdominal fat.

      There are two types of fat that you have in your abdominal area. The first type that covers up your abs from being visible is called subcutaneous fat and lies directly beneath the skin and on top of the abdominal muscles.

      The second type of fat that you have in your abdominal area is called visceral fat, and that lies deeper in the abdomen beneath your muscle and surrounding your organs. Visceral fat also plays a role in giving certain men that "beer belly" appearance where their abdomen protrudes excessively but at the same time, also feels sort of hard if you push on it.

      Both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat in the abdominal area are serious health risk factors, but science has shown that having excessive visceral fat is even more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. Both of them greatly increase the risk your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer, and other degenerative diseases.

      Part of the reason visceral fat is particularly dangerous is that it apparently releases more inflammatory molecules into your body on a consistent basis.

      The first thing you must understand is that there is absolutely NO quick fix solution. There are no pills or supplements of any sort that will help you lose your abdominal fat faster. Also, none of the gimmicky ab rockers, rollers, or ab belts will help get rid of abdominal fat either.

      The ONLY solution to consistently lose your abdominal fat and keep it off for good is to combine a sound nutritious diet full of unprocessed natural foods with a properly designed strategic exercise program that stimulates the necessary hormonal and metabolic response within your body. Both your food intake as well as your training program are important if you are to get this right.

      Now the important thing to realize is that just any old exercise program will not necessarily do the trick. The majority of people that attempt getting into a good exercise routine are NOT working out effectively enough to really stimulate the loss of stubborn abdominal fat. I see this everyday at the gym.

      Most people will do your typical boring ineffective cardio routines, throw in a little outdated body-part style weight training, and pump away with some crunches and side bends, and think that they are doing something useful for reducing their abdominal fat. Then they become frustrated after weeks or months of no results and wonder where they went wrong.

      Well, the good news is that I've spent over a decade researching this topic, analyzing the science, and applying it "in the trenches" with myself as well as thousands of my clients from all over the world to see what works to really stimulate abdominal fat loss.

      If you follow the guidelines, you WILL lose your belly fat that has been plaguing you for years. It is a proven system that works time and time again for all of my clients on every corner of the globe that actually apply the information I teach. If you apply it, the results will come. It's really that simple.

      Don't waste another day allowing that nasty abdominal fat to kill your confidence as well as contribute to your risk for MAJOR diseases.

      ====> Get the solution to rid yourself for life of this problem at.

      Train hard, eat right, and enjoy life!

      Mike Geary

  2. Are you planning to cut that extra fat from your tummy? Now would be a good time to do it as summer is just around the corner, which means less clothes and more body exposure which means you can’t hide that little tummy hanging in front of you under a coat or a sweater anymore.

    Tummy Trimmer in Pakistan

  3. I obviously know very a lot referring to that crock. Is using that Vitax Extreme Fat Burn a puzzle for you? This takes blood and guts. It was rare craftsmanship. That needs some training.