Everybody loves them, they are considered to be one of the best exercises for core strength and nice flat tummy, but should you be doing them after giving birth? And what about abdominal separation, aka Diastasis Recti? Well... It's not all black or white! The answer to whether or not you should be doing them is not a definite one, so lets go over what is happening in your body to better understand:
When preforming a plank, you increase the inner pressure of your abdomen, compromising the ability of your muscles to work. In an ideal situation, when your core is strong enough, then the muscles will stand up to the task, will hold properly and gain more strength from the exercise. However, if the challenge is too much for the muscles to carry the load, they won't be able to perform as they should, which can then cause damage to your body. If you recently gave birth you are more likely to have your core on the weaker side. If you also have abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti), and/or had a c-section, then you are in an even more delicate place. In those situations I would recommend starting with breathing practice and core engagement first, and then go to planks. How can you tell if the load of the plank is just right or if it's too much? When performing a plank, you want to start with a good breath, and as you exhale you should engage your core in all directions, meaning: by contracting your belly, your obliques, your pelvis floor and bringing your ribs down (360° breathing). You should be able to maintain that tuck throughout your plank. Once you get into position, take a look at your core (you can plank with a mirror) and see if you are still holding that tuck. Check for: * Doming/bulge in your center * Pressure on your pelvic floor
* Arch in your back * Flared ribs (ribs popping out) This are all signs that this is too much for you at the moment, and that you should start with less pressure. Planks can be performed if different variations for different levels, and therefore the answer to the question at the top - Planks Postpartum Yes or No - is: MAYBE :) Each woman is different, each body is different. Check what is the right variation that can work for you, and modify if needed.
How? Check out this video: