For 40 long weeks, you marveled at your body’s transformation. You caressed your burgeoning belly and contemplated the new and mysterious life growing inside you. But now that your baby has arrived, you’re facing the reality of a less-than-svelte vessel. You find yourself constantly peering in the mirror and wondering if your once-flat, fabulous midsection will ever reappear.
We’ve got good news for you. With a little patience and determination, your abs can once again resemble those of your pre-mommy days. All it takes is a sensible diet (see “Still Eating for Two” for easy-to-follow tips on how to eat right with a baby in the house) and the right exercise program, which we’ve developed just for you. You can begin this routine as early as six weeks after having your baby (longer if you had a Cesarean section). Just be sure to get your doctor’s approval before beginning this or any exercise program.
1 No-cheating chair abs Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent, lower legs resting on a chair, feet relaxed. Fold forearms behind head, hands resting on arms. Draw your abdominals up and in, then lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor, keeping buttocks and legs relaxed. Slowly lower to starting position.
2 Super-crunch Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place hands, unclasped, behind head. Draw abs up and in, and lift head, neck and shoulders off the floor. At the same time, lift knees up and bring them to meet your elbows, lifting hips slightly off the floor. Slowly lower to starting position.
3 Supported bent-knee curl-up Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent, calves parallel to the floor. Place hands behind thighs. Press legs away from you, using your hands as resistance; at the same time, draw your abs up and in, and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Slowly lower to starting position.
4 Bicycle Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent, calves parallel to the floor, hands behind your head. Draw your abs up and in. Extend your left leg out; at the same time, rotate left shoulder toward right knee, lifting your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Return to starting position and alternate with opposite leg and shoulder.