Postnatal Exercise Basics

postnatal exercise

We totally get that it is hard to find time to work out as a new mom.  You’re exhausted, busy, and aren’t necessarily able to get to a gym or fitness class.  Our postnatal exercise basics are easy to follow and they don’t require any equipment.  It’s a full body workout for woman who have gone through pregnancy and caring for an infant (hint, hint, we need different things than a traditional workout provides!).

The circuits can each be done in 10 minutes, so set aside 10 minutes a few times a day and you’ll get your workout in.  They are based on a free workshop we gave a few weeks ago, so if you have specific questions about the exercises or aren’t familiar with the exercises, drop us a note and we will talk you through it!

Our program is designed to correct postural imbalances, to rehab core muscles and build on where the info on separated abs and the pelvic floor leave off.  And if you need any other reason to make your fitness a priority, here are 5 good ones:

1.  You will feel better!  You will feel more in control of your life and happier thanks to the endorphins produced through exercise.  I is something you are doing for you – your health, your body, and your future.

2. You are setting good patterns for your little one to follow.  They may spend the workout sleeping, or be happily playing/gazing/observing what you’re doing, but your actions are setting up family habits.  Making sure that moving, breathing, and taking care of your health are foundational to living.

3.  Doing specific exercises can help battle the rounded shoulders/hunched posture many of us inadvertently have post pregnancy.  It will help you prevent back pain and instability in the pelvis, all of which can have painful consequences down the road.  You will strengthen all your muscles in smart, effective ways that won’t increase post-pregnancy issues like separated abs, weak pelvic floor muscles, tight hip flexors and tight pecs.  At the same time you can strengthen all of the weak post-pregnancy areas like the core, hip stabilizer and middle back muscles.

4.  Better mental health – even though you’re sleep deprived.  You’ll relax your mind, you will sleep better when you do have the chance, you will be more attentive, more emotionally balanced, and you will be able to think more clearly.

5.  You can socialize!  You will meet other cool moms who also want to be active, be outside, and do great things that correspond to the schedules babies keep.  So maybe you can’t go to every evening gallery opening, but you can power walk around the city with another mom, and gallery hop during the day.  Or come out to our Bootcamp and help us build a healthy, active community.

Oh yeah, and exercise will help you lose the pregnancy weight!

Here’s how:

The following is a basic, easy workout that addresses all of the post-pregnancy issues mentioned above.  There are modifications mentioned for people exercising with knee, back/separated abs, wrist and shoulder issues, but always check with your doctor and be safe when you do exercise.

Circuit 1

Squat Jumps – if you have knee or back issues or if you are just starting out, stick to the regular squat (to make it more challenging try lateral squat jumps, Plié squat jumps or ninja squat jumps)

Russian Twists – if you have back issues or are rehabbing your core, try windshield wipers or windshield wipers with your feet on the floor (to make it more challenging raise your feet off the ground or lean back farther)

Three Position Leg Lifts – if you have back issues stick with clamshells, or stick to a side leg lift without pushing the leg behind (position #1) or in front (position #3)

2 or 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise

Circuit 2

Reverse Lunge – if you have knee issues it is critical for you to keep your weight in the front heel, and use the hamstrings and glutes to come up (to make it more challenging try jumping lunges, dancing lunges and pulsing lunges)

Side Plank T Lift – on knees or feet, and on forearm or hand.  If you have back issues try a lying side leg lift crunch (to make it more challenging try twisting underneath the plank before the T Lift)

Donkey Kicks  – if you have wrist issues do this on your forearms, and if you have back issues try a standing version (to make it more challenging try with a straight leg, or pulsing)

2 or 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise

Circuit 3

Capoeira Lunge – these may not be suitable for people with knee injuries, try single leg deadlift instead, focusing on your hamstrings and glutes (to make it more challenging try jumping skaters, or curtsy lunge)

Single/Double Leg Heel Drop Circles – if you are rehabbing core or have back issues keep one knee bent and the foot on the ground, otherwise keep both legs in the air (to make it more challenging try adding in a crunch each time your legs come back to the start position)

Stickups, Reverse Fly, and Lying W’s – for back issues omit the Lying W’s

2 or 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise

Circuit 4

Heel Drops for back issues keep one foot on the floor, for core rehab drop one leg or lift one leg at a time

Transverse Lift – if you are rehabbing core or have back issues, just work on the pull in (try lifting up to plank holding for a moment and then lowering slowly)

Glute Bridge – come up only as high as your core can control (to make this more challenging try extending one leg at a time from the bridge position, raising and lowering one leg, coming up only one leg)

Close/Open/Up/Down – for back issues omit this exercise, for core rehab do single leg dinner plate circles (to make it more challenging try adding in a pike crunch at the top of the motion)

2 or 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise