If you’ve had kids, you know how pregnancy can change your body. What once was firm and flat, now tends to lean and lag just a little bit. After having four kids, my once fit abdomen had this long, wide linea alba that didn’t seem to go away no matter how many crunches I did.
The One Move That Got My Abs Back
The linea alba is a line of fibrous structure that runs vertically up the middle of your abdomen. In most people, you hardly notice it but during pregnancy, many women’s linea alba separates to accommodate that bundle of joy. After pregnancy—especially after multiple pregnancies—a gap two fingers wide is left between your rectus abdominis muscles called a diastis recti. Basically, it’s a weird, empty chasm where your ab muscles used to be.
So whether you’ve had kids or not, one main goal of most health-concienstious women is to have tighter abs. With all of the abdominal exercises out there, there is one move I’ve found that gets my abs back every time—the plank. This past year, doing this circuit of four moves, four times each, four days a week has gotten my abs back to a point where I feel confident in a swimsuit again.
First Up, H2O
Because exercise and hydration go hand-in-hand, to achieve your best abs possible it is imperative to drink lots of water. Before, during, and after every workout, I hydrate with the new Simple Truth Vapor Distilled Water from Kroger Family of Stores.
Every bottle of Simple Truth Vapor Distilled Water goes through this incredible distillation process. First, municipal water is steamed, the vapor is collected, and then condensed, removing all impurities and minerals. Lastly, they add electrolytes to fuel your each and every workout!
The Plank & 4 Variations
The plank isn’t a new exercise, but it is by far the most effective core-strengthening exercise in my opinion. A plank is when you hold your body off the ground using your hands or forearms and feet for support. Think of it as holding the top of a push-up position for a long time. This isometric holding strengthens not only your abs, but your back, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
Do these four plank variations four times each for four days a week. It’s easy—just think 4, 4, 4!
1. The 60-second plank
If you’re new to planks, you might want to start by pressing up in a hand position with both hands extended under your shoulders. For more of a challenge, use your forearms by bending your elbows directly under your shoulders and pressing up to support your body weight.
Your entire body weight is supported by the balls of your feet and either your hands or your forearms.
Focus on making your body a firm, straight line and then engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine. Hold this position for 60 seconds.
2. Forearm plank with alternating knees
Take a brief rest into child’s pose and then get back into plank position either up on your hands (beginners) or forearms (more challenging).
Start with your right leg and bring your knee up to the opposite armpit (left armpit). Then move it to your right armpit, and then back down. Repeat with the other leg and continue alternating knee to opposite armpit, same armpit and back down. Knee to armpit, armpit, and back down for 60 seconds.
3. Pike plank
Place a towel on the ground. You can also do this with an exercise ball. Get in plank position, either on your hands or forearms. Using your abdominal and core muscles, drag the towel forward, bringing your body in a pike position with your butt in the air. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat for 60 seconds.
Are you burning yet?
4. Pike with alternating leg extension
This last plank exercise not only works the core, but is a killer glute exercise too! By alternating your legs and suspending them in extension, you give your core a bigger challenge as it works to balance and stabilize your body. Results…tight abs!
Get in plank position. Lift one leg and extend it 45 degrees to the side, keeping that leg suspended. Bring it back and switch legs, resting each leg between extensions. Do for 60 seconds.
Stretch and Rehydrate
After doing each exercise for 60 seconds each, and after doing each circuit four times, your abs should be begging you for a break. Make sure to rehydrate and replenish your electrolytes after this workout. Simple Truth Vapor Distilled Water is a great way to do this. You can find Simple Truth waters at all Kroger Family stores:Kroger
- Fred Meyer
- Bakers, and more.
Each bottle is made from 100% recycled materials and contains ZERO everything and there are no calories, no carbs, just pure and simple hydration.
Finish with a good stretch and add this circuit to your regular exercise routine. After one year of consist core work and upping my water intake, my abs are back and my diastis recti gone. Even though having kids changes your body, they are 100% worth it! With some hard work and dedication, you can get a body that might be a little different than before, but is still totally banging’!
*Kroger Simple Truth sponsored this post. All opinions are my own.
Model: Kylee Mortensen
Photographer: Lindsay Brummer
Thank you to the incredible ladies at Shine Fitness for letting us use their studio for our photo shoot location.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. The opinions and text are all mine.