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The Best Ab Workouts for Moms

  • Abby Liga

    When performing these ab workouts, start by taking a few breaths in each pose. As you build strength, try to increase the number of breaths you take. The whole routine should take only five to 10 minutes. You'll need: a yoga mat or towel.

  • Abby Liga

    Standing Balance
    Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and take a few breaths to center yourself. Bring left knee toward chest, holding it with left hand. (Place right hand on a wall for balance if necessary.) Inhale to lengthen the sides of your body from waist to armpits, and exhale to ground right foot. Take about three to five breaths here; with each exhalation, gently draw belly and pelvic floor up and in for more stability. Switch sides and repeat. As your balance improves, try taking hand off the wall and placing it on waist.

  • Abby Liga

    Downward-Facing Dog
    Come to hands and knees on mat, then walk knees back a few inches until they're behind hips. Inhale, tuck toes and slowly exhale, straightening legs as you bring hips toward ceiling. Keep hands firmly rooted to the mat, especially fingertips. Remain here for three full breaths, come down and sit back on heels to rest in child's pose or on hands and knees.

     

     

  • Abby Liga

    Warrior (2 Parts)
    A. From downward-facing dog, step right foot forward between hands. Turn out left heel 45 degrees; keep entire foot on floor, especially outer edge. Bring hands to waist. Inhale, rounding back slightly to deepen breathing and reach hands behind you.

  • Abby Liga

    Warrior
    B. Exhaling, stand up, lengthening sides as you reach arms up past ears. Bow forward again as you inhale, then exhale and stand back up. Repeat three to 5 times. Return to downward-facing dog and repeat, this time bringing left foot forward.

  • Abby Liga

    Boat Pose
    Sit tall on mat, legs extended and hands at sides. Lift feet off mat with knees bent and shins parallel to floor. Keeping abdominals engaged, lean back slightly but stay as far forward on sitting bones as possible. Reach fingers forward, keeping hands in line with shoulders. Breathe evenly, lengthening the sides of body as you balance on sit bones.

  • iStockphoto

    Bicycle Crunches
    Lie on back, with hands clasped behind head. Lift shoulders up and bring left knee to chest, extend right leg out and twist right elbow to left knee. Repeat on the other side. Keep alternating until you've done 8 to 10 on each side.

  • iStockphoto

    Plank Pose With Moving Arm
    Get on hands and knees. Straighten legs so you're in a plank position resting on your toes. Hold the position for 2 sets of 30 seconds each. When you can do that easily, try raising one arm at a time, keeping hips level and torso in line. Alternate raising and lowering each hand 5 to 10 times each. For a challenge, have your toddler straddle your hips.

  • Veer

    Swing crunches
    Sit on a swing with a sturdy seat, feet firmly on the ground. Hold on to the chains. Lean back slightly and tighten your abs. Bring your knees to your chest as you exhale. Inhale as you straighten your legs. Repeat five times.

  • iStockphoto

    Hula Hoop
    Keep at it for ten minutes and you'll get a cardio workout, strengthen your abs and improve your core body strength, much like a Pilates workout.

  • iStockphoto

    Scissor Lifts
    Bring your legs straight up into the air so that they're at a 90-degree angle to your torso. Engage your ab muscles (especially your transverse ab muscle) and lower your right leg down so that it's just off the ground. Hold it there for a few seconds while keeping your pelvis stable, your tummy taut and your back flat. Snap your right leg up, and repeat with your left leg. Try 10 reps on each leg.

  • iStockphoto

    Breathing Exercise
    Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position with your back supported against a wall. Place one hand under your breasts and the other on your navel. Inhale as you expand your belly, then exhale slowly, while bringing your belly button inward toward the spine. Pretend there's a train whose first stop is at your navel and whose fifth stop is at your spine. Count off stops until you reach the fifth. Hold and count out loud to 30. Then imagine your navel going out the back of your spine to a sixth stop for five counts. Relax and inhale. Work up to ten times daily.

  • Denis Horan

    Baby Reverse Curl
    Lie on your back with your baby on your chest. Bend your knees, bringing them in to your chest. Rest your baby on your shins, holding her hands and  then lift them up so that your shins and your baby are parallel to the ground. Your thighs should be at a 90-degree angle to your torso. Contract and engage your abs and lower your shins (and your baby) so that your feet are slightly off the ground. Hold for a moment, then lift your shins up so that they (and the baby) are parallel to the ground again. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Your baby will like flying through the air while you tone up!

  • Denis Horan

    Love-handle Minimizer
    Stand up straight, with your legs hip-width apart. Contract your abdominal muscles to engage your core, and hold your baby (or a 10-pound medicine ball) slightly out in front of your chest, with your elbows bent at a 45-degree angle. Be sure to keep your shoulders down and relaxed. Swivel at your waist to the left. Hold this position for 3 seconds. Swivel back to your center. Swivel to your right, holding the position for 3 seconds. Then come back to the center. Do 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.

  • iStockphoto

    Butterfly Abs
    Lie on back and place soles of feet together; relax knees out to the side. Place hands behind head, with elbows out. Tightening abs, lift chest and shoulders up then release back down. Do 10 to 12 reps.

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