TOTAL TIME: 23–25 min
45 seconds on, 15 seconds active recovery, repeat 4x
1. Dynamic Plank
Contrary to popular opinion, planking is not automatically prohibited if you have diastasis recti or pelvic floor disorder, but it does require smart modifications. When working the large outer abdominal muscles, make sure you co-contract the stabilizers—the pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and internal oblique.
And, I know I sound like a broken record, but any time you cannot maintain a contraction of the pelvic floor or abdomen, you must regress the exercise.
Therefore, if you are planking against the wall, awesome. If you are planking on a chair or ottoman, cool. And if you can plank on the ground, more power to you. Each body is different. Pay attention to your own. Make sure the exercise is difficult, but not impossible.
- Find the appropriate plank incline for your abdomen. This can range from the wall to a countertop to the floor on hands and knees or hands and feet.
- Lift your right hand while pulling your elbow back. Return.
- Then your left hand and elbow. Return.
- Next, lift your right leg straight behind you. Return. Then lift your left leg and return.
- Repeat this cycle. If you fatigue, take a break, and then restart when you can.
Do not overarch your lower back or thrust your ribs. Keep your head looking forward. And breathe.
2. Dynamic Bridge
The bridge is awesome for the legs, butt, and abs. You might be tempted to overarch your back if you lose control. Remember, it is better to regress an exercise than to do it poorly.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your side. Push yourself into a bridge position (butt in the air, shoulders and head on ground).
- Once in the bridge position, straighten and lift your right leg level with your left knee. Return.
- Lift your left leg level with your right knee. Return.
- With both feet on the floor, raise your right arm straight over your head, creating a semi-circle movement. Return.
- Raise your left arm over your head. Return.
- Stay in the bridge position for the 45 seconds, or you can lower your butt to one inch above the floor, then return to your bridge and repeat the cycle.
If this is too easy, hold on to some free weights.
3. Bent Leg and Arm Jack
This is a modified version of a jumping jack. Straight legged jumping can be murder on a weakened pelvic floor, regardless of whether you have pelvic floor disorder or not. This version of the jack gets the heart rate up, while softening the landing.
Even so, if you need to remove the jumping completely, simply squat one leg out to the side, return, and then squat the other leg out.
- Begin in a narrow ski squat position, your forearms pointed upward, and your hands in a fist.
- Breathe out. Lift the pelvic floor and jump the legs to a sumo squat (or step one leg out).
- You soften the landing by keeping the knees bent. Your arms, still bent, open to the side.
- On the next exhale, jump back to your starting position.
The pelvic floor needs to absorb the pressure of jumping. Therefore, although it should co-contract automatically, you might need to consciously pull it in and up on the exhale.
4. Monster Walk
The sides of your butt (gluteus medius) will love this exercise. The key is keeping tension in the band as you step to the side.
- Tie a resistance band into a loop and step into it with feet a bit wider than hip width apart. You want to feel tension in the band, so make sure the loop is small enough.
- Step to the right with straight legs, keeping the tension in the band (therefore, keeping your feet slightly wider than hip width).
- You can also add in the upper body by lifting your arms above your head on one step, lower on the next step, lift above your head on the next, lower, and so on.
- After 4–10 steps (depends on space), pause, then reverse directions for 4–10 more steps. Repeat.
5. YTW Deadlift
This combo works your glutes, hamstrings, and back — all parts of the body that a mom needs to keep strong. If you want more resistance, consider stepping on a resistance band or using light weights.
- Stand with feet hip width apart.
- Do a deadlift (sometimes called a good morning) by hinging at the hips, slightly bending your knees, and leaning forward without hunching or overarching your lower back.
- In this position, pull your arms up into a Y position. Then return the arms and stand up from the deadlift.
- Do another deadlift. This time pull your arms to the side to make a T.
- Return to starting.
- Do another deadlift. This time bend your elbows and make a W with your arms.
- Return to starting.
- Repeat from the beginning.
You can also do the Y, T, and W in a sequence before standing up.
Do not overarch your lower back or thrust your chest forward at the bottom of the deadlift. Picture a string running from your chest through your belly button. Keep this string from over-stretching.
Try to tense your belly while you perform the Y, T, or W. And when you pull yourself up from the deadlift, feel the movement coming from your feet, through your inner thighs, up to your glutes. If you don’t feel grounded, don’t hinge forward as far.
This is a traditional yoga stretch. If you have diastasis recti, be careful not to overdo the cow part. Your spine wants to practice some extension, but personally, I do a very small “cow.” Get in the quadruped position. For the “cow,” arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. For the “cat,” round your back and look down at the ground.
2. Floor Pelvic Lunge
Lunge with your right knee forward and left knee on the floor. Push your pelvis forward and return to neutral. Repeat this 10–12x before switching legs.
3. Snow Angel Toes Up the Wall
Stagger your feet. Press your right toes against a wall, heel on the floor. Lean towards the wall to deepen the stretch. Meanwhile, lift your arms to the side and above your head, keeping them straight. Let the thumbs touch, then lower to the side and repeat.
Hold on to a wall for support if needed. Stand feet hip width apart. Grab your right foot with your right hand and press behind you, as close to your butt as possible. Lean forward, then return. Repeat. Then, switch sides.
5. Standing Figure 4
Stand with feet hip width apart. Lift your right foot on top of your left thigh, creating the figure 4 with your legs. Sit back into an imaginary chair to deepen the stretch. Switch sides. Make sure to hold on to something if you keep losing your balance.
Watch the Video
That’s it for CIRCUIT 5!