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Mother and Baby

Exercises for a tighter tummy - The Stomach Retraction

Section: New mum fitness

It’s normal to look six months pregnant for a few weeks after giving birth. But do this gentle exercise for 10 minutes every day to help tone your tummy.

‘This yoga-based exercise is superb for flattening your stomach and cinching in your waist,’ says expert Zana Morris, nutritionist and founder of The Library Gyms.

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your hips and push your elbows forwards slightly. Take a deep breath, then exhale all the air from your lungs. Don’t inhale until after you have completed the next move. Pull the part of your tummy just under your ribcage in. If you’ve got a toddler, then you will recognise this move as ‘look, Mummy, I’m really thin!’ Hold for as long as is comfortable for you, even if it’s just a second or two, and then breathe normally.

For maximum effectiveness aim to produce a deep concave shape in your abdomen, right from your ribcage to your pelvis. Make sure you fully relax your muscles between retractions.

If you’re a new mum, hold for just a split second. Start with just a few retractions and slowly build up to doing more over the next few weeks.

If you’re six months or more post-birth really suck those muscles in. Do it fully and you’ll feel a tightness in your throat.

Spend two minutes doing stomach retractions. It’s important that you get your breath back between each move, but reduce these rest periods as your muscles strengthen. Start with five to 10 retractions with long rest periods, gradually building up to 20.

If you’ve had a c-section, speak to your GP before exercising. Only do what is comfortable for you.

More 10-minute tummy exercises:

>> Slow Squats

>> The Pelvic Tilt

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