Hey, Mama! Early postpartum is a time for healing, recovery, and rest, and we always recommend getting cleared by your doctor before any exercise, but there are some recuperative movements you can likely incorporate in the first 6 weeks postpartum along with walking if you’re feeling up to some light movement. These are from phase 1 of our Postpartum Return to Exercise Program.
Pay close attention to the videos and how we are breathing.
We want to focus on deep breaths into our ribs. If you place your hands on either side of your belly button, they should expand as you breathe. Breathe through the entire range of motion of these movements, allowing your pelvic floor to relax as you breathe in, and engage slightly as you breathe out. Think about drawing the breath up and out as you breathe out.
Please remember that these are simply suggestions – if you feel any pain, pulling, pressure, bulging, bleeding, etc., then the movement is not right for you at this time with the strategy you are employing and you should consider seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist, as well as informing your doctor.
1. Heel Glides
2. Quadruped Single Arm Raise
Again, pay attention to the breathing strategy as we exhale before lifting our arms. This is another gentle way to start incorporating core movement and connection. These are fun to do while your baby is having playtime under you on their play mat or floor 🙂
3. Bird Dogs
Once the single arm raise feels good, you can move up to the bird dog for a little bit more of a challenge. In the bird dog, you lift your opposite arm and leg at the same time. The intent is to engage the core and work on balance in this position. If this feels uncomfortable or you’re having trouble, go back to the quadruped single arm raise and practice. Remember, every mama’s postpartum timeline is different. Take your time.
4. Fire Hydrant
A lot of moms feel pain or tightness in their hips after birth. The fire hydrant can help with hip strength and stability, and hopefully help you alleviate some of that tightness.
5. Glute Bridge
The intent with the glute bridge postpartum is to reconnect to the core and pelvic floor, and activate the hips and posterior chain while utilizing the breathing strategy in the video notes.
6. Single Leg Balance
During pregnancy, our center of gravity shifts and balance can sometimes feel off. The intent of the single leg balance exercise is to help you work on balance again and connecting to your core.
Take deep breaths as you hold for 30 seconds to a minute per side. See if you can increase your time from week to week.
7. Single Leg Balance with Lateral Knee Drive
Once you’ve got the single leg balance down, try adding a lateral knee drive to challenge your balance and core more. Progressing through exercises like this will help you develop strength and reconnect to your core as you continue to heal postpartum.
8. Wall Sit
The wall sit is a great way to start incorporating some strength and stamina, while still having supported movement by using the wall. This way you can sit up higher if needed, and build to a lower wall sit over time.
A final reminder that early postpartum is a time for healing and recovery. Along with these movements, we always encourage light walks when you feel up to it as walking can be really recuperative both mentally and physically. Put on music or a podcast, and take some time for yourself each day. Enjoy this early days, they are challenging but they do go fast and it does get easier!
As moms & trainers ourselves, we realized that there is a huge need for a program specifically designed to guide us safely and effectively back to working out.
Developed by Cara Forrester, who has a Master’s in Sports Conditioning & Performance, specializing in Postpartum return to fitness and the experts at The MINT Prjct, this program is like no other out there and is designed to progress you back to strength training and conditioning style workouts smoothly, safely, and at your own pace, with access to our experts the whole way.
This program is designed in phases, not weeks so that you can progress through your postpartum return to fitness at your own pace.