Iso Planks (for abdominals, back, and legs). Begin your front plank by lying facedown. Bring your elbows directly under your shoulders to prop up your chest. Tuck your toes under and push through your heels to straighten the knees, so that you create a long, straight line from shoulders to heels. Pull the abs up and away from the floor to avoid a swayback position; hold here for 15 seconds. Next comes side plank: Lie on your right side, right elbow under right shoulder. Lift your right ribs away from the floor to create a diagonal line from shoulders to hips. Then, begin to walk the feet out, balancing on the outside of the right foot and the inside of the left. Lift the hips high and hold 15 seconds; repeat on the left. The fourth variation is upward plank -- begin seated, legs extended to the front. Place your palms on the mat behind your hips, with your fingers pointing toward your toes (or out to the sides for less stress on the shoulders and wrists). Slowly press the soles of the feet to the mat -- knees can be bent as you learn -- and aim to walk the feet out until the legs extend completely. As you do this, lift the hips and chest as high as you can, working the entire back of the body at once. Hold 15 seconds and rest.
If you can manage just one repetition of each exercise at first, that’s great! Isometrics are tougher than they look. As you get stronger, add a repetition or two, or hold each repetition five seconds longer. Check with your healthcare provider before beginning this or any other exercise routine, and if you are less than 12 weeks postpartum, skip the side-plank drill completely. Otherwise, claim a few minutes of naptime for yourself and see how quickly you get stronger and leaner.
If you work very hard, maybe one day you’ll be as strong as my son, the Hulk.