One of our Members brought up a great question! What abdominal exercises can she be doing while she is progressing through the Mommy Ready Program?
Although, my best advice is to stick strictly with the Program sequencing and remain consistent with the EXACT exercises of each phase, I know that we are impatient and want to do MORE. I know, because I have been the same as I progress myself through the program.
I have been taking classes at my local gym and most classes have a core sequence at some point or another. A good trainer will give you options and warn against doing an exercise that increases back pain or improper form. I also like to have my own set of rules.
RULES for Abdominal Exercises when your Core System is still weak:
If doing an exercise that requires a head lift, check for center bulging of the abdomen. If you are able to maintain a nice, flat abdomen with the head lift, then go for the exercise. If you notice central bulging of the abdomen, then this exercise is not for you....YET.
When doing an exercise that requires a leg lift, check for neutral pelvis. We learned this position in Phase One of the Mommy Ready Program. Refer to your phase one training and pay close attention to pelvic and low back positioning when lifting your legs. If you are able to maintain neutral position through the movement then go for it. If not, then shorten your "levers", bend your knees or decrease the range of motion until you are successful in keeping the neutral pelvis through the movement.
Pay attention to fatigue levels. As you continue to perform more than 5 reps of any exercise, your muscles may begin to fatigue, changing your ability to safely perform this specific exercise. Therefore, you may need to rest and reset before you continue the exercise or spend some of that time performing your TA and pelvic floor exercises.
Also, important to note, are you feeling a "dropping" sensation of the bladder or pelvic floor or experiencing any leakage. These symptoms will also indicate that you are not ready for that specific abdominal exercise.
The Mommy Ready Program encourages you to progress slowly as we are training the nervous system as well as the core system muscles. Repetition and consistency through the program will assist you in your ability to tolerate higher level abdominal strengthening sooner rather than later. This is your time to "fine tune" your core system to allow continued strengthening without exacerbation of symptoms as your body grows stronger and stronger.
I hope this advice is helpful!