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Strong abdominal muscles are good for helping you maintain proper posture, avoid back strain and injury, and for helping us feel physically fit. However, having strong abdominal muscles doesn’t just happen. Strong abdominals are something you have to work for.
Having strong abdominals has also helped me carry seven pregnancies to term, get through the pushing stage of labor in three minutes or less, and return to pre-pregnancy shape within a few months. Of course these successes are due to more than just strong abdominals, but strong abs definitely plays a role.
Let me also say that when it comes to returning to pre-pregnancy weight, you will have to work for it. It is not easy, and it doesn’t just happen because you have good genes. Returning to pre-pregnancy weight begins with being healthy during pregnancy through eating habits and exercise, and getting back at it with gusto after you have been given the green light from your doctor (or when your doctor just nods and smiles when you tell him of your racing plans the following month).
The thing with building muscle strength and mass is that muscles are smart. You cannot do the same thing all the time and expect to keep building. For this reason, when you are looking to build strength in your abdominals or any other muscle, you will need to vary what you are doing each time you work a particular muscle.
Here’s a great ab workout that I regularly use. Explanations and/or links to examples follow.
Of course if you have any medical concerns this should be avoided, and if at any point you feel dizzy or completely unable to catch your breath you should stop and seek the advice of your doctor.
Vertical Leg Crunch: http://www.wikihow.com/Do-Vertical-Leg-Crunches
Long Arm Crunch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fDjzzfovZE
Isometric Sit Up: I could not find a link that illustrates this as I do it, but, you simply sit up as you would to do a regular sit up, but instead of coming right back down, you hold the sit up at the top for 40 seconds.