This sequence of exercises we're going to do lying on the floor. But to get to the floor, I want you to be really careful. Put one hand round your tummy, turn onto your side, and then lower down and lie on your back.
The reason I want you to do that is that sometimes, during pregnancy, your tummy muscles can separate. This is completely normal and natural. But to help bring those tummy muscles in, it's really important to do exercises like the ones we're going to do.
To check if you've got a gap in your tummy, you can do this: Get two fingers, place those fingers just above your belly button. So find your belly button, just place them a little bit above your belly button. Take your other hand back behind your head and, just once, lift up. Then just feel between the ridge in your tummy, and you can feel if there's a gap there or not.
If you can sink your fingers in and the gap is wider than two finger widths, then you need to be a bit careful. Just do the exercises in this video for tightening your tummy, and avoid any kind of curling actions, because that won't help your tummy right now. Just stick to the ones in this video.
So, making sure that your tailbone is on the floor, with a little gap in your back here, so you can get your fingers partway underneath, we're going to really connect to the inner core muscles. So find your pelvic floor, draw up through your center. As you exhale, slide your leg out, keeping all of this area completely still and pulling up into your tummy.
One way to remember this is to think of a line, a zip line from your tail to your pubic bone, up into your belly. You zip up through that line as you extend your leg out.
Take another breath to bring your leg back, and again pull up through the zip line as the leg comes back. Don't allow anything to move.
So you take a breath, you inhale, slide your leg out, zip up through, pull up through your pelvic floor, pull your tummy in. Then take another breath, zip up through again, and we're going to slide the leg out, pull up through, and make sure that there's no movement in your pelvis. You're concentrating on that zip line, pulling up through your pelvic floor.
If you were to do this every day, and if you've got a gap, this will really help to bring that gap in. It's really good to do anyway, but good if you've got a gap as well.
The next exercise again is going to help – perfectly safe for you to do. So you're going to now go into what we call a bridge, but this is going to really work your bottom muscles as well as your tummy.
So, from that neutral line, which is where you've got that little gap in your lower back, you're going to tuck your tail, suck your tummy in, and start to lift your back up off the floor one vertebrae at a time. Go up to a position where you can really tuck your tail.
I'm going to do this wrong for a second. I'm going to push my back through – now that's not good for your back. You've got to make sure that you're tucking your tail, squeezing your bottom, sucking your tummy in. So your bottom goes high, your back doesn't. If you feel any pain in your back, you need to come out of the position.
Squeeze your buttocks really tight, and then roll back down, tucking, tucking, tucking, trying to get each vertebrae back down to the floor like links in a chain, one at a time, until you're back in that neutral line, and then you can lift up again.
So from neutral, tail on the floor, tuck your tail, suck your tummy in, lift up. When you're up here, find your pelvic floor again. Lifting through your center, squeeze your buttocks and then roll back down, really making sure you're feeling it. So this is a really great exercise for your bottom.
We're now going to work into the upper body. So you're going to take your hands up behind your head. We're going to use one arm against the other, and this is brilliant for toning the backs of the arms, the old "bingo wings," this tricep area here.
So you're going to press and push one hand against the other. This really works the bicep muscles and the tricep muscles, which are the ones that go down the back of the arm here. If you've got some handheld weights, you can use those instead.
Then you're going to swap hands and do it the other way as well. Just push and pull, and then really feel the backs of the arms and also the biceps, the fronts of the arms, working.
We're just going to finish off with a stretch for the bottom that you worked in that bridge exercise. So take your knee out to the side, hold that position there, pushing your knee out to the side and lifting this leg in. You should feel a lovely stretch going down the side of your leg. And on the other side, making sure your knee is out to the side.
This is a lovely sequence of exercises to do with your baby lying by your side.