"Mom Posture," which consists rounded shoulders, a forward head position and an anterior pelvic tilt, results from carrying the baby, nursing, changing - all in that hunched position. If your not a mom, you could still be in the same boat. Those who sit at a desk all day often develop the same postural distortions and muscle imbalances. On top of the aesthetic downside of this posture (namely the pooch and hunchback), these distortion can cause neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, knee pain and the list goes on and on…
Now here comes the good news…
Targeted stretching and strengthening routines can have you looking better and feeling better in no time (Improved posture goes a long way and can give you the confidence you need to push forward with a more intense fitness plan.). A few weeks ago my blog post "My -- is a Pain in the Neck" covered the stretching and strengthening routine for the shoulders, head and neck. Below you will find the stretches and exercises for anterior pelvic tilt. Please note that this does not apply to every mom! It's best to be evaluated by a professional to determine the ideal routine for you and your body.
Complete this routine (including the shoulder/neck routine, if necessary) 3 days a week and you should start noticing a difference in 3-4 weeks. Getting your posture on track NOW is a great way to start the new year off right!
Hip Flexor Stretch
Start on all fours, wrists under shoulder and knee under hips. Bring the left leg up between your hands, with foot flat on the ground. Start with both hands on your hips and push body forward through the hips, stretching that right hip flexor. Hold for 30 seconds, then bring right arm straight up and lean slightly to the left to go further into the stretch. Hold for 20 more seconds then repeat process on opposite side.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be in a comfortable position so that you back is flat against the floor (not arched). Experiment with different placements of your feet to find the best fit. Take a deep breath in, expanding into your back and your lungs. Exhale: Keeping your torso in one flat piece, press your feet into the floor and squeeze your butt as you lift your hips up off the mat. Come up high enough that your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees and straight through you extended leg. Inhale and hold your position. Exhale: Come back down to the mat one vertebra at a time.
Starting with the pushup position is the easiest way to get into the plank. Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your palms should be balled up, and directly underneath your shoulders. Curl your toes under and engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button toward your spine. Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral. Imagine that you’re a plank of wood, and that you’re straight as an arrow. Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes. These are the two major muscle groups you’ll be working out in this exercise. Hold this position for 20-30s and work your way up to 60s (or more!).
Vacuum (Supine Pelvic Tilt) *This one is especially great for new mom's with a weakened pelvic floor from child bearing.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor. Next, exhale as much air as possible. This raises your diaphragm and, much like an empty stomach, allows for maximum contraction of the TVA. Lastly, pull your navel in as close to your spine as possible. The more your navel draws in, the more the TVA is contracting. Hold for 15 seconds to start, work your way up to 60s. Repeat for a total of 3 reps.
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