Crunches Don’t Work For Your Post-Baby Belly—But These Exercises Do

Baby mamas rejoice, because boring crunches are officially useless at toning your abs after pregnancy. Instead, this quick, yet deep-working, workout is what you should be doing (and it’s a lot less monotonous).

young mother does physical fitness exercises together with her baby

Despite popular belief, crunches can actually make your postnatal pooch worse. That’s because you need to be strengthening and toning the core first, and then working outwards to the more superficial muscles.

“Working your abdominals from the inside out is the key to a flatter tummy and lasting results,” explains fitness expert Tracey Mallett. Mallet is also the brains behind this simple postnatal workout, aimed at working the transverse—the deepest abdominal muscle. First get the all-clear from your doc, and then start with the first exercise of the routine one week post-delivery, slowly adding moves as the weeks progress, and increasing reps—around three or four times a week.

Pelvic Tilt

Lie on your back, knees bent and place one pillow under hips and one between knees. Feet flat and your arms at your sides—then inhale, and exhale, while drawing your abdominals in, curling your pelvis slightly, and squeezing your glutes. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 x.

 Pelvic Bridge

This move is for six weeks postpartum.

Begin with pelvic tilt (above), then lift your hips off the floor into a bridge. Slowly uncurl down vertebrae by vertebrae to flat spine position. Repeat 5 x.

 Heel Slides

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart and abs pulled in. Flex your left foot, pressing heel into the floor. Keeping your pelvis immobilised, inhale, then exhale while using abdominal muscles to push left heel away your body, keeping knee slightly bent. Repeat on each side 5 x.

Towel Pulse

Begin on your back, knees bent. Wrap a towel around your upper shins, holding each end. Pulling the ends of the towel, inhale, then exhale, drawing abdominals in and lift your shoulders off the floor. Hold, then pulse your ab muscles 10 x.