How to lose the mummy tummy

Fitness expert Joanna Helcke runs through single leg toe dips, an exercise for new mums.

Joanna says: “Exercise during the postnatal period should only be started up once the green light has been given by your GP at the six-week check-up. Depending on the sort of birth that you have experienced – eg a Caesarean section – you may have to wait longer, such as eight to 10 weeks, before exercising.”

“This exercise focuses on using the deep abdominals to stabilise the pelvis as the leg is lifted and lowered. The deepest layer of abdominals need strengthening and tightening following pregnancy, as this will help to flatten the ‘mummy tummy’ safely and, importantly, will help protect against lower back pain.”

Step one

Lie on your back in neutral spine with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Step two

Breathe in to prepare and as you exhale, draw your abdominals gently inwards whilst drawing upwards on your pelvic floor.

Step 3

Whilst maintaining your neutral spine, raise one leg so that your knee is directly above your hip, your shin is parallel to the floor, and your knee at a 90 degree angle. Try to avoid tensing your upper body.

Step 4

Now inhale to prepare and as you breathe out dip your foot down towards the floor by hinging at the hip, rather than bending at the knee. In other words, maintain the 90º angle at the knee as you dip the foot downwards.

Step 5

Ensure that as you lower your foot towards the floor, your pelvis does not start to tilt forwards causing an overarching of the back. It is vital that there should be no doming or bulging of the abdominals as you lower your foot to the floor.

Repeat the movement between four and 10 times on one leg – depending on whether you can maintain neutral spinal alignment throughout – before repeating on the other leg.

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