As a man, I'm far from qualified to talk about the rigors of childbirth. But I am human, which means that I know passing a seven-and-a-half pound being through any orifice is going to take a toll on your body (especially when you've been carrying that being around inside you for the better part of a year). For a strength athlete, this physical turmoil can lead to an extensive recovery process.

Abby Clark of recently shared her own journey back to full strength training after giving birth to her first child.

Clark says the first step is reconnecting the core:

I discussed the core with my friend and colleague, Dr. Sarah Hnath, a physical therapist and CSCS trainer who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum training. She said that the “core” is actually a group of 4 muscles that believe it or not, does NOT include “the abs”, or at least the typical “6 pack abs” that most people refer to. The muscles that comprise the core are:

—The Diaphragm
—The Transverse Abdominis
—The Multifidus Muscle
—The Pelvic Floor Muscles

She then breaks the process up into four phases:


TVA activation drill- The Transverse Abdominis (TVA) is the deepest layer in your abdominal wall and can be very difficult to connect to. You can find your TVA by lying down on your back with your knees bent, place your hands on your hip bones and slide your hands down approximately 1 inch. Cough. You will feel a muscle tighten up…that is your transverse abdominis.



After the 12 week mark (and with your doctor’s approval), the following exercises will help strengthen your rectus abdominis and prepare you for heavier lifting.



After you’ve regained strength and stability in your entire mid-section, you can reintroduce compound strength exercises like swings, Turkish get-ups, and deadlifts.

Clark's full article as well as exercise demonstrations can be found on StrongFirst, here. 

Header image via flickr, Teza Harinaivo Ramiandrisoa