If you have been following the Post Pregnancy Workout Series, then maybe you feel ready for a change in pace – and maybe you don’t. If you do, here is an exercise routine, you can follow for the next 12 weeks. If you have just started rebuilding your body, post-pregnancy, please check out some of my previous posts: Post Pregnancy and Exercising and the Post Pregnancy Workout Series: Week 1-6 and Week 7-12.
- Your exercise routine now consists of one hour-long power-walks (perhaps with your baby) a few times a week – or every day if you prefer.
- Keep doing your daily pelvic floor exercises
- Increase the intensity in strength training and yoga
- Keep focusing on stretching your tight muscles, as well as strengthening your weak muscles to align your body and prevent future injury
- Because your little bundle of joy is gaining weight and demanding that you carry them and hold them most of the time, I recommend doing some gentle nerve stretches for your arms, shoulders, and neck
- You can also start going to a Pilates class to increase your core strength and strengthen your stabilizer muscles
PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES
Why do I need to train my pelvic floor? I’m sure you’re wondering this very thing. Why indeed spend precious time doing pelvic floor exercises? Here are a few “nice-to-know” points about pelvic floor exercises:
- They can help to reduce swelling after birth
- They increase the blood flow to the pelvic area and help to improve healing after birth
- They help the muscles in the pelvic area to become tighter and function better, which you will be thankful for later on in life (or when you sneeze, cough, laugh, lift something heavy…etc.)
- Most women have recovered about 6 months after birth
Start Position: Lie on your back with your knees bent and facing up, and feet on the floor/bed
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles – like you want to prevent yourself from peeing and relieving gas
- Hold for 5 seconds
- Relax for 5 seconds
- Repeat 5 times
Start Position: (Same as above) Lie on your back with your knees up and feet on the floor/bed
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles – like you want to prevent yourself from peeing and relieving gas – and push your feet down, lifting your hips and squeezing your glutes
- Hold the lift and squeeze for 3 seconds
- If you can, repeat this lift and 3-second squeeze 10 times
- Relax for 1 minute
- Repeat 2 more times
STRENGTH TRAINING (month 3-6)
Contract your pelvic muscles when contracting other muscles in strength training. This is important, so your pelvic floor will get stronger and not weaker. For example, before squatting, contract your pelvic muscles, and before a hip-bridge, contract your pelvic floor muscles.
Make sure you’re not strength training every day and get at least 1 day break in between workouts.
Start your workout by warming up to get your heart rate up a little, your muscles warm, and lubricate your joints, to prevent injury. You can do a mobility warm-up, where you move all your joints in a circular motion, with a full range of motion – gently – one body part at a time.
The following strength training program is a circle training program. Doing your strength training as a circle training program will save you time because you’re not taking as many long breaks as you would in a traditional strength training program. It will also enhance your fitness because no breaks will get your heart rate going.
Start by doing Circle 1 3 times, where you do all four exercises right after each other. Take a break before doing them again right after each other, and then take a second break and do the circle a third time. Then continue to Circle 2, etc.
This being said, you should always listen to your body and take any breaks you need. Maybe you didn’t get a lot of sleep, and therefore exercising feels more difficult today, than it did last time. This is perfectly normal, so no worries, just do the best you can – doing a little is still better than doing nothing at all, and it will help you to establish a habit of exercising, rather than a habit of not exercising. If this is the case, just do each circle one time, take any breaks you need, and if you’re up for some more, then do the circles again. You can even do just a little now and the rest later today – you don’t have to do the whole workout in one “sitting”.
Take any breaks you need, listen to your body and remember to hydrate!
|Dynamic Frog Squats||12||Bodyweight|
|Bent-over Lateral Raises||12||2 x 3 kg (dumbbells)|
|Push-ups on knees||12||Bodyweight|
|Hip lifts (abs)||12||Bodyweight|
|Explosive Lunges||20 (10 each leg)||Bodyweight|
|Mountain Climbers||20 (10 each leg)||Bodyweight|
|Lateral leg lifts||15 each leg||Bodyweight|
|Shoulder rotations||15 each arm||1-2 kg max|
|Diagonal lifts||20 (10 each side)||Bodyweight|
YOGA (month 3-6)
Just as for weeks 7-12, I recommend doing a relaxing yoga routine to relieve you of any stress symptoms and to stretch out those mommy muscles (such as chest, shoulders, neck, biceps, lower back, and hip-flexors). All poses should be done gently and mindfully. Do not force your body into any of the poses as this can produce an injury. If you are not used to doing yoga, I recommend taking a post-pregnancy class – either online or at a yoga studio or gym.
- Deep breathing
- Sitting neck stretches
- Sitting shoulder rolls
- Sitting shoulder to ear on inhale, then drop shoulders on exhale
- Sphinx pose
- Foreward bend
- Lying window-washers
- Lying dynamic spinal twist
- Rolling Plow
- Fish Pose
Feel free to modify your yoga routine as you wish, and as always, listen to your body and its needs!
Enjoy doing something good for your body and have a happy workout mommy!