Fitness and Wellbeing

To Crunch or Not to Crunch and How to Move From Lying to Sitting

to crunch ot not to crunch


This is one of the biggest questions often asked after having a baby OR  why do I have to go on and off my side when I want to lie down?
So you’ve had your baby recently or a few months ago and you want to work your abs or you used to get out of bed by sitting up straight.   You’re keen to start having your tummy muscles working again, flatten, lose your baby weight and get into your skinny jeans.
Well the problem is due to pressure, intra abdominal pressure.  Your trunk muscles cannot cope with this pressure and results in doming up or bulging putting totally the opposite effect you’re wanting to achieve and in the early postnatal period ( I say early although this can last for months if your tummy muscles remain apart. –  if you’re worried about your muscles staying apart then check out my diastasis special rehab programme HERE. )
Crunches are still not suitable if you don’t have a weakness or diastasis in your tummy muscles.  Your tummy muscles need time to recover from being stretched in pregnancy and build up strength to cope with the intra-abdominal pressure that activities especially sitting up from lying does to them.  It is so much better to roll sideways up and down than get a rounded / bulging tum!!
Check the picture of a lady doing a sit up.  Her abdomen is bulging up and as she also has a diastasis she has a midline bulge too.



diastasis with bulging / rounded abs

Breathing and the core

The link between breathing and the pelvic floor


The bulge is the result of being unable to manage the pressure.  Pressure doesn’t just go upwards it goes wherever there is weakness, so in the body pressure affects the pelvic floor too.
This is also the case for moving to lying down.  To protect your abdomen and pelvic floor, go down sideways then roll on to your back.  Coming up vice versa.
The abdomen muscles and pelvic floor also work with your breathing, so that when you breathe out your abs sink in and your pelvic floor lifts.  Check out the diagram above.
You also need to be aware that crunches or sit ups take the body into a forward flexed posture.  Mums often move into a bent or flexed posture, there is no need to use an exercise to take the body there too.
So what can you do to work your abs if crunches are a no go!!
Well mums are constantly moving around so these functional movements can be used as great exercise.
Movements such as pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging and rotating all use the abs without changing into a flexed posture.  Work on the exercises from class, although I am launching an online Mummy Tummy programme.  If you’d like to be one of the first to join the programme then register your interest here.
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