You CAN find your abs again even if you haven't felt them in years! (part 2/2)
What the heck do you need to do to get your abs to turn on again after birthing kids?!?
How come some moms seem to have no problem with this, while you feel like yours are on walkabout?
I wish there was an easy answer to the second question, there are so many reasons and I don’t think anyone really ‘knows’ but I do have an answer to the first one ;) Even if you think you have tried EVERYTHING, I urge you, please don’t give up. Functional abs that do their job make everything in life so much easier.
This post is about the second skill for finding elusive abs. Positioning your bones.
You may be thinking, my bones are fine, it’s the muscles that are on vacation, Donyne. That may feel true but, your muscles react to where your bones are positioned. So let’s work on positioning them so the muscles are easier to activate.
Sometimes all it takes to get your abs to show up is to shift where your bones are. I’m not talking about replacing your arm bone with a leg bone, just about shifting the relationship of the bones to each other.
How cool is it that something as simple as playing with the position of your bones can make a difference in reminding your abs to support you? I think it’s pretty amazing.
So what bones do your abs attach to??? Let’s have a little look. These are the four layers of your abs. The ones on the left are closest to the surface and as you scan right you get progressively deeper.
They attach mostly to the ribcage, the pelvis and indirectly, to the spine.
When all 4 layers of your abs are working together as a team they do a great job. When one or two are more strong and a couple are on vacation, things get a bit funky, but I’ll dig into that another day.
Most commonly, it's the deeper abs, the internal obliques and transverse abs or corset muscle that moms need to reconnect to. So if you feel like some of your abs are just not available to you right now, low abs I’m looking at you, we can shift the position of your bones and your breath to encourage them to show up. There are many ways to do that, but today let's play with one way that works for most people.
If you try it and it doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. There are other ways to play with this. Send me a message, I’d love to find what works for you in a private session.
Thinking about those bones, both your ribcage and pelvis are able to move in a few different directions. They can:
Tip forwards and backwards - this changes the size of the arch in your lower and mid back
Rotate - one side can be a bit in front of or behind the other
Tip sideways - one shoulder or hip can be higher than the other
It can be very difficult when you are just starting with this to track and move each area individually and then hold them in an unfamiliar position while you try to activate your abs.
So instead of breaking your brain, I'm going to use some props to reposition your bones passively. As you get more comfortable with this you can adjust just with your brain and over time you won't have to think about it at all.
Our abs activate in all different bone and body positions but when you are trying to get reconnected to the deeper layers it really helps to make the ribcage and pelvis point to each other and take some of the rotation out of the torso.
If you can’t do this exercise right now, set a timer or reminder in your phone to come back to it when you can. Otherwise you won't, and you will probably forget. I know I do.
Before you start the video try this:
- Sit or stand how you usually do, put your fingers on your low belly and find a nice smooth soft inhale.
-Exhale like you are trying to blow out all 40 candles on a birthday cake.
- Keep exhaling till all the air is out.
Did you feel any firming inward of your low abs at the end of your exhale? Do it a couple more times and take mental note of how it feels.
This is your before ab connection feeling. Now try it with the props.
Note: If you have a c section scar this may be uncomfortable for you. As long as it is fully healed, I would encourage you to work through the discomfort if you can and do this exercise. Then I suggest you get some help or do your own scar massage to desensitize it and get the tissues moving well again. Sometimes a scar that hasn’t had any massage can interfere with your abs firing well. I’ll post a tutorial on that soon.
So how did it go?
If this was helpful and you were able to feel even a glimmer of ABS show up for you again, I’m so happy for you! It can be life-changing to feel that support again. Yahoo!
If you'd like explore this type of work more deeply, sign yourself up for the next round of my Mothership course. We'll practice all kinds of exercises like this to dial in your breathing and ab connection, then we apply that to more advanced exercises and improve how your whole body influences your ab recruitment.
Abs do not work alone, they interact with the rest of your body. What your head, feet, hips are doing can make a big difference.
And finally, I’d love to hear how this was for you? Was it easy, hard, uncomfortable, surprising, disappointing, tell me in the comments below. Have a friend who wants more abs? Help us both out and share it with them!