The power of Facebook often amazes me; how something so small can gain momentum so quickly. An idea that would take days to plan and execute offline can happen in just hours online. Facebook challenges are nothing new and I am always up for a challenge. Throw something at me that makes me commit or gets me out of my comfort zone and I find it very hard to say no. And generally that’s awesome!
BUT – I have recently discovered the ‘30 Day Ab Challenge’, created by Robyn Mendenhall Gardner. She has created a movement 2.5 million people who are committing to challenge their abs for the month of June.
So, what’s wrong with that you might ask? Well, kind of nothing, but kind of everything… depending on who you are. For new mums, mums who have older kids and have done no rebuilding work, mums with abdominal separation and mums with weak pelvic floors, there could be everything wrong with this challenge.
The really cool thing is that in the past two days I have had a couple of mums in my sessions, a couple I talk to regularly on Facebook and even an old school friend in the UK who’s wife had a baby 10 months ago ask me if this challenge is suitable for them. This is cool for two reasons; cool that Robyn’s challenge has spread so far and wide, and cool for ME! Because people who have had a baby are coming to ask for advice, which also means that my message is starting to spread.
The main thing these people wanted to know is what they could do instead of the sit-ups. I am really glad my ‘no sit-ups’ message is getting out there but know it is not just about sit-ups. It’s about absolutely ANY exercise that puts pressure on your rectus abdominis and your pelvic floor. Like I said this could be ANY exercise – from a sit-up to a tricep push down. If you are creating intra abdominal pressure on a weakened area you are potentially causing it stress and doing further damage.
The other exercises in this challenge are not suitable either – planks, crunches and leg raises are all higher level, more challenging abdominal exercises and what you need to be interested in right now is rebuilding from the inside out. Create a strong foundation, THEN when you know everything is working well and you’ve had the check ups you can go nuts and do the challenge (though even then I believe there are better ways to target the abdominal area but that’s another blog post!)
So, what can you do instead?
1. On the 1st June, pick up the phone and make an appointment with a women’s health physio. If you can find one with Real Time Ultrasound work with them and get feedback on your pelvic floor and TA activation. Can you do it? How strong is it? Do you have endurance?
2. Make a commitment to do the rebuilding program that they give you EVERY SINGLE DAY over the next 30 days.
3. Remind yourself that you need to be patient! You need to tune into your body. You need to take the time. I KNOW you have the potential to be stronger and fitter than you have ever been before but ONLY if you take the time now to get it right. Skip steps and you could end up injured down the track.
4. Know that no number of sit-ups or crunches alone will give you a flat tummy!
You can find out how to check for abdominal separation along with how to activate both pelvic floor and TA on my YouTube channel
How to check for abdominal separation
How to activate Pelvic Floor
How to activate TA