In this final post of my Rebuilding the Core After Birth series, I will introduce you to Levels 5 - 7. As in previous levels, it is very important that you've practiced and mastered Levels 1-4 prior to moving on to these more advanced levels. Every day is going to feel different. Some days you'll be stronger than others. On other days, you may find you need to regress to a level you thought you mastered. There is nothing wrong with that! Sometimes going back to the basics helps us build our confidence and remind our muscles how to engage and hold the correct form. Read on to learn the final three levels and be sure to watch the videos for demonstration.
lower abdominal #5
In this exercise, start with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Begin by gently drawing the belly button in toward the spine and lifting the pelvic floor towards the sternum. This is what you learned in Lower Abdominal #1. Maintaining that activation, lift both bent knees off the mat to a table top position, while maintaining the activation. Continue the activation and lower slowly both heels to the mat. Repeat for 10 reps.
lower abdominal #6
In Level 6, begin with both legs long and extended on the mat. To start the exercise, gently draw your belly button in toward your spine and lift the pelvic floor toward the sternum. Maintain this activation as you lift one long leg off the mat to 90 degrees. Continue to hold the activation as you slowly lower that leg to the mat. Repeat for 10 reps on each leg.
Lower abdominal #7
In this final exercise of the series, begin with both legs long and extended on the mat. As always, start the exercise by gently drawing the belly button in toward the spine and lifting the pelvic floor to the sternum. Work very hard to maintain this activation as you lift both legs off the mat to a 90 degree position. Only lower as low as you can before your lower back begins to extend (arch) off the mat. You'll notice that I only lower to about 45 degrees. As you exhale, slowly lower both legs to the mat while continuing to keep your TVA activated. Repeat for 10 reps.
It is very easy to let your back arch and extend off the mat in this exercise if you have not properly trained and built the strength of your TVA. If you are having trouble, I suggest you regress to previous levels until you feel stronger.
As in previous levels, I recommend that you practice and master each of these levels for about 2-3 weeks before moving on. Now that you are in more advanced levels, you can stay here for as long as you like. Just like your glutes will always need squats; your TVA will always need core work. If you have any questions about how to perform these exercises or you are experiencing discomfort, please reach out or consult with a local trainer/physical therapist.