Firm Up: Postpartum Tummy Tighteners
Nine months of pregnancy can give you not only a bouncing baby, but a bulging belly as well.
Step-by-Step Ab Toners
Starting position: Lie on your back, knees bent, arms out at sides; let back curve naturally. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply; pull navel in toward the spine as you exhale. To prevent injury, do not arch your back during the exercises. When breathing feels comfortable, add exercise 1. All exercises start from this position; work up to each gradually.
1. Without holding your breath, tighten lower abdominal muscles and slide one leg down the floor until it's flat, then slide it back up to a bent position. Relax ab muscles. Repeat with other leg. Continue, alternating legs. When you can do 20 slides on each leg, move to exercise 2.
2a. Pull lower abs in and raise one bent leg until calf is parallel to floor.
2b. Then extend leg straight out without touching floor. Pause, then return to starting position and relax abs. Repeat 5 times without pausing for each leg. When you can do 20 times on each side, proceed to exercise 3.
3a. Inhale, exhale, and pull abs in, keeping them taut. Raise one bent leg, then the other, so calves are parallel to floor.
3b. Bring first leg back to floor, then raise it again. Repeat with second leg. When you can do 10 reps on each side, go to exercise 4.
4. Pull in abs and lift both legs, as in 3a. Then, extend one leg straight out, without touching floor. Switch leg positions. Repeat "bicycle" so each leg is extended 10 times. Work up to 20 reps on each leg.