Monday, 1 August 2016

Postpartum Planks

Planks are probably one of the best core exercises there is and also strengthen your glutes, back, shoulders and arms meaning it can firm you all over. The plank can come in so many different variations, equally all effective and focusing on different elements of the core.

Many new mums ask me when it is safe to return to doing full plank? It is advised not to do full planks after having a baby, but postpartum recovery will vary from mother to mother. Fours months maybe ok for one mum, whilst nine months could still be too soon for another. Aspects that need to be taken into consideration are:

  • Type of childbirth
  • Prenatal fitness level
  • Abdominal conditioning (diastasis Recti)
  • Incontinence and other pelvic floor weaknesses
  • Postpartum pain
  • Prolapse issues

There are lots of plank variations you can do for some of the points above, so not all is ruled out. Also there are plank progressions for mums who are ready to slowly gain the strength to gradually perform a full plank.

If you answer yes to any of the following, you should avoid planks at present and seek professional advice on an exercise programme right for you.

  • Have you had any back or hip pain?
  • Do you leak?
  • Do you have diastasis recti?
  • Do you see conning in your belly?
If you answer yes to all or most of these, then your plank journey to inner core strength may begin.
  • Has your Diastasis closed/ healed?
  • Has your postpartum posture improved?
  • Is your core system working as it should? Can you connect your deep core muscles?
  • Have you been following a post birth recovery program?
When you are physically ready to start  incorporating planks into your routine, see the image of plank progressions below. Each progression should be done for approx 2 weeks 3-4 times for 30 secs ( build time up to 1 min) and then move onto the next phase. (Please note you can initially do planks standing against the wall vertically for a gentle start)