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POSTPARTUM VIDEO: 12-Minute Pilates Abs Workout

Mat Exercises to Whittle Your Middle after Baby

NOTE: This exercise routine is intended for use before and after pregnancy. Postpartum women need clearance from a health-care provider before starting a workout regimen.

For more information on regaining strength in the abdominals after pregnancy, read Post-Pregnancy Core Rebuilding.

If you are recovering from a cesarean section make sure your incision is fully healed and your doctor has given you the go-ahead to get started with abdominal strengthening exercises before using this video. When you do get started with these exercises, take frequent breaks, and go at a pace that feels comfortable. Don't force any exercises or push to the point of discomfort. It will take time for your body to build or regain strength, so slow, careful progression will help you build muscles without injury.

If you experience any discomfort or pain while doing any of these exercises try modifying the movement by slowing down the pace and shortening the length of movement, or stop and rest at more frequent intervals. If modifying the exercise doesn't reduce discomfort, then discontinue that exercise.

For more information about this video, please scroll down to read the text below the video player.

About This Workout
This workout will help you strengthen (and stretch) your abdominals, obliques and lower back-without any equipment. Coach Nicole will take you through one short set of 11 Pilates exercises (plus stretches) for a complete core challenge. If you're new to Pilates, we recommend that you watch our short Intro to Pilates video first.
  • Length: 12 minutes
  • Equipment: Body weight, mat (optional, for cushioning)
  • Type of Workout: Strength training (toning) & flexibility
  • Muscles Worked: Core (abs, obliques, lower back)
  • Fitness Level: Beginning to advanced; since this workout has few transitions, it may also be suitable for individuals with limited mobility.
  • Impact: Low-impact
  • Safety Precautions: A mat will help cushion your body while lying on the floor. Shoes are optional during this Pilates workout. Always work at your own pace and level, using modifications whenever necessary.
  • Extra Tip: Only complete as many exercises as you can using good form, taking a break as needed. As you progress, try to finish the entire video. If you're new to Pilates, some of these exercises will cause fatigue in your neck muscles, but the more you practice the stronger your neck will become. If necessary, use one hand for light support behind your head and neck during exercises, or relax back down to the mat until you're ready to go again.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols
Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in health promotion and education, specializing in exercise and fitness, from the University of Cincinnati. She maintains several fitness certifications, including prenatal and postpartum exercise design.
Nicole Nichols

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