If you’re planning to have tummy tuck surgery, you’re probably already familiar with the many ways in which this procedure can improve your core. Not only does tummy tuck surgery remove loose skin and subcutaneous fat (allowing your muscles to show more prominently), it can heal damaged muscle tissue. For some patients, having a tummy tuck is a necessary step on the road towards achieving strong abdominal muscles.
Why Do Some People Need Tummy Tuck Surgery to Strengthen Their Core?
Those who have been pregnant or significantly overweight in the past often struggle profoundly with their core. They usually labor under the erroneous idea that diet and exercise alone can restore lost muscle tone and create a “flat” stomach. Only to discover, after many hours of exercise, that this simply isn’t the case. The problem isn’t their dedication or technique; instead, the issue is within their muscle tissue.
When a large amount of weight (from fat deposits or a growing baby) exerts stress on the walls of the abdominal cavity, the tissue that connects the two lateral halves of the abdominal muscles often tears. When this happens, the muscles are prevented from working in unison; they therefore cannot be strengthened properly with exercise alone. Unfortunately, these tears don’t usually heal on their own because tissue needs to be connected in order to heal (this is why deep cuts require stitches in order to close). Sutures must be placed in the tissue during tummy tuck surgery to start the healing process, which often takes about two months to complete. After this occurs, the patient is ready to start working on his or her core via conventional means like diet and exercise.
The 5 Best Core Workouts for Tummy Tuck Patients
As a tummy tuck patient, it’s essential that you wait until your surgeon tells you that it’s okay to start exercising again. Exercising too early can cause your muscle tissue to tear again, making revision surgery necessary. However, once you have been given the “all clear,” exercise is a great way to accentuate the results of your procedure. Strong abdominal muscles exert a “corseting” effect on the abdomen, pulling in subcutaneous fat stores and compressing the organs. This makes the stomach flatter as these tissues protrude less.
If you’re ready to start working out your core and creating those six pack abs you’ve always dreamed of, the five exercises below are a great place to start:
1. The Raised Plank
Enter a standard plank position, resting on your elbows and toes with your body elevated off the ground. Raise one foot off the ground and hold it aloft for 5 to 10 seconds, making sure to keep your body level. Don’t bend or twist your torso. After holding, switch legs. Repeat this exercise at least five times.
2. The Side Plank
While resting on your side, raise your body up on one elbow. Hold your position for at least ten seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise at least five times, then switch sides.
3. Reverse Crunches
Unlike a traditional crunch, the reverse crunch involves raising the lower part of the body to create an intense lower ab workout. Lie on the floor with your arms at your sides and slowly raise your buttocks off the ground while keeping your legs raised. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise 20 to 30 times.
4. The Body Hold
As the name suggests, this exercise requires holding your body up for a set duration of time. It sounds easy, but it’s surprisingly difficult to maintain. To perform the body hold, lie on the ground and raise your shoulders, arms, and legs, with your arms stretched out in front of you. Hold your position for at least ten seconds. Release and repeat the exercise five to ten times.
5. The Bicycle
While lying on the floor with your arms behind your head, raise your legs and bend them at the knee. Start pumping one leg forward, then the other, as if you’re riding a bicycle. Do at least 25 repetitions before relaxing your stance.
The beauty of the exercises described above lies in their simplicity. You don’t need expensive gym equipment or a lot of room to perform them; you only need a mat and your own willpower. This makes strengthening your core something you can work into your routine anywhere, anytime.