Read the directions and watch the short video before performing the SET.
1. Pelvic Party (15 reps)
Progress one level up from SET 1. This means if you performed the Pelvic Party supine last time, move to sitting. If you were sitting, move to standing.
A reminder of the levels—
Level 1: Supine
Level 2: Sitting
Level 3: Standing
Level 4: Squatting
- Sit on a chair without slumping, or stand with feet hip width apart.
- Put your hands on your ribs.
- Breathe in. Try to feel the air gently push your ribs outward. If you can’t feel anything, put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Breathe in again. Where do you feel the most movement? Try for a movement in your lower ribs. You’ll still feel air in your chest and abdomen, but you also want to feel your rib cage move. You should feel your pelvic floor gently lower as you breathe in.
- Now breathe out. Feel your ribs compress a little. At the same time, lift your pelvic floor in and up. Your transverse abdominis might co-contract. This is good. If it doesn’t, GENTLY contract it by pretending the two sides of your hips are trying to meet along your bikini line.
Accurately contracting your pelvic floor and transverse abdominis takes some practice. I highly recommend having a physical therapist check your ability to contract. In the meantime, pick the visual that works for you. Check out 10 Kegel Cues and 5 Transverse Abdominis Cues for some choices.
2. Seated Arm Flap and Leg Raise (15 reps)
This stretches the chest and works the abdominals.
- Sit on a chair or on the floor with knees bent. Lean back slightly, but not so far that your abdomen loses control and your belly pooches. Keep your spine in neutral; this means no tucking or tipping of the pelvis and no hunching of the shoulders. If you can’t lean back without coming out of neutral, do this exercise sitting upright.
- Bend your elbows and put your fingers near each ear.
- Breathe in.
- Breathe out. Squeeze your elbows together in front of your head and lift one leg, knee bent OR straight.
- Return the leg and arms to starting, then repeat with the other leg. That is one repetition.
3. Knee Squeeze and Pull Down (15 reps)
This exercise works the inner thighs, which often co-contract with the pelvic floor. It also works the upper back and abdominals. Not bad for a simple move.
Level 1: No weights or ball
Level 2: Add light weights and/or ball between thighs
- Sit in a chair with knees touching and arms stretched overhead. You can make this harder by placing a small ball between your legs and by holding light weights in your hands.
- Breathe in and feel the pelvic floor and abdominals relax.
- Breathe out and squeeze your knees (or the ball) together while pulling your arms down into a W.
- Make sure you can feel the contraction in your inner thighs, pelvic floor, back, and abdominals.
- Breathe in and return to starting.
4. Wobbly Arm and Leg Reach (10 reps)
This exercise makes the abdominals stabilize the body against the movement of the arms and legs, as well as against the instability of the ball or pillow beneath your hips. As with all exercises, pay attention to your muscular contractions. On the exhale, do you feel your pelvic floor and abdominals “turning on”? If not, either the exercise is too hard and should be regressed by removing the pillow, or you haven’t yet learned to coordinate your muscles. In that case, slow down and focus.
- Lie on the floor face up (supine).
- Put a folded over pillow underneath your hips (or a Pilates ball for more challenge).
- Lift your arms and legs off the floor so that you look like a dead bug.
- SLOWLY move one arm and the opposite leg towards the floor (in opposite directions).
- Return and switch sides. That is one repetition.
- Your back might try to arch, so don’t let it. This might mean dropping out of neutral into a slight pelvic tuck, which is fine. You’ll know you have moved your arms and legs too far if your abdominals pop out during the movement.
5. Seated Resistance Band Row (20 reps)
Moms need strong back muscles and strong abdominals. Therefore, let’s row.
- Sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Don’t lock the knees.
- Some women feel better if they keep a natural curve in the lower back. Straightening your legs will flatten your back a bit (see picture), so if you notice more control with a larger lumbar angle, then sit on a pillow, which will help you untuck. Sometimes I sit on a pillow, sometimes I don’t.
- Wrap the band around the bottom of your flexed feet.
- Inhale and relax the pelvic floor and abdominals.
- Exhale and row the band so that your elbows are in line with (or slightly behind) your torso. Make sure the movement originates from your back.
- You should feel your abdominal muscles contract to stabilize your body.
- Inhale and release to your starting position.
You can make this exercise harder by increasing the tension in the band or by using a band with greater resistance (this is why I recommend multiple resistance levels). To increase the tension, move your hands down the band towards your feet.
Watch The Video
That’s it for SET 2.
The goal is to repeat each SET two times through.