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Exercise and Fitness

Flatten belly and reduce strecth marks

08/14/2006

Question:

Hello,

My kids are 4,6,8 and I had a C-section with all three cut up and down, the problem is before the children I had great abs now they have gone. I want to know how to get the abs back and reduce or fade the strecth marks. I also and currently 120 and I would like to gain 10 or 15 lbs can you please tell me the healthy and correct way to gain fat/muscles. I want fat where need and muscle where needed. Thank you for you time.

Answer:

The key for c-section moms is focusing on strengthening and stretching your abdominal muscles to regain great muscle tone.  A great abdominal strengthening exercise is the curl-up.  While lying on your back, begin with arms outstretched, exhale, and pull your belly into your spine as you slowly reach with your hands towards your knees. Only roll up until your shoulder blades lift off, then inhale and slowly lower. Be sure your stomach flattens (not expands) as you rise. Also, do diagonal curl ups by reaching right arm past left knee as you curl up, and vice versa. Increase difficulty by changing arm positions, from easiest to hardest - arms outstretched, arms crossed across chest, and arms crossed behind head.

Regarding your strength program, are you performing any lower body exercises? The following information regarding resistance training is taken from the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (6th edition). 1) Perform a minimum of 8-10 separate exercises that train the major muscle groups (arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips, and legs). A primary goal of the program should be to develop total body strength and endurance in a relatively time-efficient manner. 2) Perform a minimum of 1 set of 8-12 repetitions of each of these exercises to the point of momentary muscular fatigue. 3) Perform these exercises 2-3 days a week. Although more frequent training and additional sets or combinations of sets and repetitions may elicit larger strength gains, the additional improvement is relatively small for individuals in a general fitness setting. 4) Adhere as closely as possible to the specific techniques for performing a given exercise. 5) Perform every exercise through a full range of motion. 6) Perform both the lifting (concentric phase) and lowering (eccentric phase) portion of the resistance exercises in a controlled manner. 6) Maintain a normal breathing pattern; breath-holding can induce excessive increase in blood pressure. and 7) If possible, exercise with a training partner who can provide feedback, assistance, and motivation.

Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

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Response by:

Rachael   Dotson, BS Rachael Dotson, BS
Program Manager
Certified Johnny G Spinning Instructor
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati