The story is true for so many of us, not just postpartum moms...
You go to Ab Lab, you do your 50 crunches, 30 sit-ups, and 1 minute of butterfly kick, but you only ever see change in the top half of your abs!
Your lower abs remain an illusive pouch that sometimes gets worse after a workout!
So are crunches bad? Should moms avoid them?
Here's the deal.
Crunches Are Not Bad
No exercise is inherently bad for you, unless you're performing the exercise with the incorrect muscles. This occurs when we have faulty movement patterns, or compensatory strategies that we rely upon to "cheat" for us when the right muscles are offline.
Postpartum moms are especially at risk for developing compensation strategies because their lower abdominal region has literally just been blown out by pregnancy.
Pregnancy will lend itself to decreased deep core activation and overutilization of muscles that are not overstretched, like your upper abs.
The Risk Of Doing Crunches Wrong
The is a risk to performing too many crunches using only your "cheater" muscles.
You can wind up increasing your Diastasis Recti, exacerbatining your prolapse, or creating stronger faulty movement patterns that will now be even harder to unwind.
What A Crunch Should Look Like
Ideally, a crunch should begin from the lower abs stabilizing the spine.
Your entire spine should be in contact with the floor with no gaps.
Your abdominal wall should not be coning or doming.
Your should not feel any "bearing down" or downward pressure in the vaginal region or pelvic floor.
Breaking Down A Crunch
You can start attempting a crunch with a "head lift." This gets rid of too much rounding in the upper spine, which can be driven by "cheater muscles" like the upper abs and your chest muscles.
Get Additional Help
Unlearning movement patterns takes time and effort and is often impossible to do on your own. If you find yourself frustrated and confused trying to get your body back postpartum, know that you are not along.
If you are struggling getting your abs back postpartum, book a session with us today to learn how to activate the right muscles and decrease the strength of those cheaters!