Even if you were active during your pregnancy, or if your little one is not so little anymore, you’ll notice that exercising after baby feels… different. Your hips have moved, your core is shot, and your yoga pants are falling down. And don’t get me started about the back pain! Also, since you spend most of your time holding a 10-20 lb kid on your left hip, everything feels cattywompus [that’s southern for crooked].
The good news about all these changes is that getting back to normal (or even better) is achievable, and you don’t have to leave home to get started.
First thing’s first:
C-Section mamas - get your doctor to okay these exercises and make sure you don’t have any risk for hernias/complications from resistance training work.
All mamas - get your doctor’s seal of approval before starting a workout regimen.
Most often, your doc will just be excited that you’re working out!
Restore your core
Who knew just sitting up to get out of bed could be hard? If you don’t restore your core, you could be at risk for low back pain even after your bundle of joy is starting kindergarten! Good news is, it’s easier than you think. As with any exercise, start with an easy option and work up to more difficult ones.
I use this exercise for my pregnant and postpartum clients to combat the back-straining effects of carrying a baby in a car carrier (why is it so heavy?) and holding a baby/toddler on one hip. The results of these new activities in a client’s daily life can wreak havoc on their back, shoulders, and posture in general. Carries essentially train you to optimize your posture and strengthen the muscles that hold you in a proper, upright position.
Upgrade your walk
Yes, walking is a good activity, but without a focus on intensity, it cannot be considered a workout. Without getting into the weeds with the science of all this I want to explain how to assess your intensity without having to use a heart rate monitor. As you are walking, rate your intensity on a scale of 6 - 20, 6 being laying down on a couch, 20 being trying to outrun an Olympic sprinter. For more context, a regular walk with the dog/stroller would be around a 10. I challenge my clients to take the intensity up to a 15/16 level for 60 seconds, then back to a 10 for 2 minutes. Repeat this pattern for 20-30 minutes and you will feel the difference! Interval training is the most efficient way to burn fat, and I don’t know any mamas who don’t want to save a few minutes each day.
Get your balance back
As Shakira would have us know, the hips don’t lie. And your hips, mama, have moved since your baby arrived. Because of this shift, I see a lot of postpartum balance issues that impede clients from doing what they used to do. Training balance is actually pretty rewarding because of how quickly the changes happen. One of my favorite balance exercises is the anterior reach. Anterior reaches help clients relearn engaging the glutes, steadying the hip, and using the foot to assist in balance correction.
When you’re ready, work the plank
Planks are HARD. Most people hate them because they never learned how to do them properly. And now that you’ve had a baby, your abdominal muscles are weaker than ever. Take this time to relearn the plank (even if you think you know how) and make it stronger than it’s ever been!
Ready to take it to the next level but still not sure how to start? I got you, mama.
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