The Post-partum Tummy Routine

 By: Jill Smi
Having a baby is a beautiful and exciting thing. What is less beautiful and exciting, however, is the extra weight that hangs around the midsection after the baby has been born. The best way to go about shedding this baby belly is proper diet and an exercise routine, which may not always be easy to do for a new stay-at-home mom still reeling from a pregnancy. The good news is that working out and eliminating the extra belly fat will give you more energy, so you can spend more quality time playing with and caring for your new rugrat. Here are a few simple exercises to set your on your way toward baby belly freedom. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

Progressive Crunchless Crunch
This stomach exercise works your abdominals as well as a crunch does, but without the strain to your neck and back. Begin by sitting in a chair, placing one hand above and below your belly button in order to feel the contraction of your abdominals. Take one big deep breath, so your midsection expands completely. Then let the breath out as you pull your belly in, imagining your belly button being pulled inward toward your spine. Finally, briefly contract your abs five times. Do a full set of repetitions of all three parts. You can also try this exercise lying on your back. Try both to see which one helps you feel the contractions of your abdominal muscles better.

Contractions
This exercise starts off very much the same way as the last one, but involves quicker steps and more repetitions. Begin by sitting in the same position as in the progressive crunchless crunch, and taking the same deep breath. This time, instead of bringing your belly all the way back, exhale and bring it just about halfway. Then pull your belly button back toward your spine. Contract and hold for a count of one. Repeat from the half-exhalation point. Do the whole thing one hundred times.

Crunchless Crunch
As you can tell from the name, this stomach exercise is very similar to the first. Instead of making a few stops as you exhale a deep breath, however, this exercise consists of just one move. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominals to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.

If you start doing these stomach exercises at home in your spare few (very few) minutes, you can lose your baby belly and be fit and trim and just a few months - just in time to start chasing after Junior once he learns to crawl!
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