Deep core exercises are key for your postpartum recovery and even during pregnancy!

The problem is, sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re actually engaging the deep core muscles correctly during those deep core exercises.

Since the deep core (the transverse abdominis muscle) is literally deep in the core system, it might take some time – and different cues / techniques – before you feel the proper engagement and activation.

So, here’s some different cues to try to make sure you’re engaging right when working on those deep core exercises!

Cue 1: The Pelvic Bone Touch

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and heels planted into the ground. Keep the pelvis in a neutral position.
  2. Touch the top of your pelvic bones – the ones you can physically feel sticking out at your hips – with two fingers.
  3. Now think about bring the top of those pelvic bones together. When you put your finger 1 inch inside of those bony points, you should feel a deep muscle activate – that’s your TA (transverse abdominis)!

Cue 2: The Zipper

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and heels planted into the ground. Keep the pelvis in a neutral position.
  2. Now we go into the connection breath. Breathe in, expanding your belly and ribcage 360 degrees, while also releasing tension in the pelvic floor.
  3. On the exhale, we’re toing to “zip up” your core. Start with contracting or lifting the pelvic floor, then starting from the bottom all the way to your rib cage, think about zipping those muscles together as if you were zipping up a coat. Continue exhaling that breath out through the entire “zipping up” process.

Cue 3: The Belly Button Drill

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and heels planted into the ground. Keep the pelvis in a neutral position.
  2. Think about drilling your belly button into the ground. You should physically feel your pelvis shift into a neutral position and your deep core engage when you perform this cue correctly! Make sure to not overcompensate by squeezing your glutes. Just a small pelvic tilt is all we want.

When should you practice deep core exercises?

Now that you know the basics behind engaging your deep core properly, it’s time to tie it into real exercises!

These will be helpful for you whether you’re 12 weeks pregnant or 4 months postpartum. Whenever you first hear the deep core and breathing techniques, that’s when you should start doing it.

Start with these engagement cues 2 times a day, 10 “reps” each.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Once you nail down the basics, you should add this engagement technique to reps of your exercises during your workouts. Actually applying deep core work to your workouts is where all the magic will happen!

For exact deep core exercises to do during your postpartum recovery, simply subscribe to my program, FIGR:Postpartum ! I also share a ton of deep core and pelvic floor tips on my Instagram at @katedarkofit.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Katelyn! I'm a girl mom to Amelia & wife to my high school sweetheart, Anthony. I'm a certified pre & postnatal fitness coach, majored in exercise science from the University of Michigan, and now coach clients both in person and through our FIGR app subscriptions full time with my husband. Can't wait to connect with you!

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