Reclaiming Your Prepregnancy Body: Toning Your Chest, Thighs, and Tummy
The Tupler Technique
On her road to developing the Tupler Technique, Julie Tupler gleaned knowledge from her background as a nurse, a certified personal trainer, and childbirth educator. With her extensive background, Tupler developed exercise techniques to best help women regain their prepregnancy form.
Tupler’s book Lose Your Mummy Tummy explains how to get what clients from her New York City studio have been enjoying for years—flatter tummies and stronger bodies. Tupler’s discovered that many exercise routines miss isolating one of the deepest abdominal muscles—the transverse muscle. This muscle draws in the other abdominal muscles and prevents a “mummy tummy,” or a poochy belly. For this reason, Tupler says you should envision your transverse muscle and try to isolate it in each of these exercises. She equates the transverse muscle to an elevator that runs laterally from your bellybutton to your spine with six floors, the first floor being at the belly button and the sixth floor close to the spine.
When to Begin: With your doctor’s approval, a day or two after delivery.
How Often: Daily.
Chest: Seated Military Press
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and a strength band under your bottom. With your arms hanging at your sides, hold the handles or ends of the bands, one in each hand. Keep your elbows bent and tight against your body. Gradually bring your hands up to your shoulders, with your elbows still pressed against your body. Keep your forearms and wrists straight throughout the motion. During the exercise, bring your transverse muscle to the fifth floor by drawing your abdominals in to your spine. Contract your transverse to the sixth floor as you raise your arms. Return your transverse to the fifth floor as your arms come back down to the start position. Work up to two sets of 12 repetitions.
Thighs: Inner Thigh Press
For the start position, sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you comfortably, your legs forming a “v” shape. Draw your knees up toward your upper body until you can rest your elbows just inside your knees. Place your elbows on your knees with the palms of your hands together. As with the military press, bring your belly from the fifth to the sixth floor as you squeeze your arms together with your knees. Return to the fifth floor to begin another repetition. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.
Abdominal: Seated Transverse
Tupler warns that many exercises meant to flatten the tummy can actually make it bulge by drawing apart abdominal muscles, a condition known as diastasis. Ninety-eight percent of women have this condition postpartum. For that reason, she advises against exercises that bring the shoulders off the floor while contracting the abdominal muscles, such as in the traditional sit-up or crossover-type abdominal work, both of which can draw the abdominal muscles apart further. Tupler suggests moms do the transverse anytime, anywhere—you can easily fit this exercise in each time you feed your baby.
While sitting on a chair, point your elbows out and place your hands, one on top of the other, on your belly. Your top hand should cover your lower ribs with your fingers pointing down and over your bellybutton. Your lower hand should cover the lower abdomen near the public bone. Begin the exercise by drawing in your tummy to the fourth floor, toward your spine. Then bring your tummy to the fifth floor, holding it for a moment before returning to the start position. Repeat these contractions 100 times. Tupler suggests doing five sets a day.
Remember that it took you nine months to gain your pregnancy shape; regaining your shape will take some time too. These exercises offer a gentle beginning to your road back to your prepregnancy figure.
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