Pregnancy is an amazing part of a woman's life and if you have experienced this, then you are aware of the physical changes your body undergoes during this time.
New mothers tend to have the desire to jump straight back into exercise to regain the figure and strength they had before falling pregnant; however, it is important to look after your body before stepping into old workout routines.
Mothers are often encouraged to take it easy after labour, however every individual is different and your ability to work out should not be forced, rather when you feel comfortable. Remember; there is plenty of time to get back into shape so focus on what is beneficial for both you and the newest addition to your family.
Here are 4 postnatal exercises that you can easily do with your new bundle of joy and are suitable for new mums wanting to ease back into fitness. Put on your favourite TV show or playlist and enjoy!
1. Relaxed Plie
This is a fantastic abdominal exercise that can awaken the stomach muscles and gently strengthen them. Aim to do the plies at different ranges and tempos.
Set up your plie: Stand up with your feet (toes + heels) together, then gently rock out on your heels until your toes are about a pizza slice apart.
Bend from the knees, driving your heels into the floor and concentrate on using the muscles that support the joints to squeeze up to the top (no snapping of the knees and minimal momentum). Wrap from the top of the thighs (using your bottom) like you’re squeezing a tube of toothpaste empty.
Start slow, 4 counts down, 4 counts up and gradually increase the pace so you finish with more intensity with single counts. Try using some of your favourite dancefloor songs to motivate you to keep up the momentum.
This is a great exercise to do while holding your new born or having them in a baby carrier, as they double as a weight which can optimise the workout.
2. Tummy Tighten & Lower Back Stretch
New mums are constantly bending over to change nappies, pick up toys and feed, which can lead to a sore back and neck. This exercise is a great way to stretch out the upper back and of course, when done correctly, prevent overstretching of repairing abdominal muscles.
This is also a great way to spend some quality time on the floor with your new bundle of joy.
3. Baby Booty Workout
A firm booty is something we all aspire to, (baby or no baby!) and this next exercise will allow the glute muscles to tighten and strengthen. It can be easily done in the nursery, in the lounge room and anywhere you find safe to lay your baby next to you.
Remember to keep your hips square, you want to rotate open from the external rotators, and get deep into the butt muscles, not open at the hips. It shouldn’t take long to feel the burn here if you’re doing it right! Start with slow reps again, then work up to single lifts and then pulses at the top (right in your challenge zone) to finish off!
4. Gentle Side Plank
This is a perfect exercise to build up to and should be more of an exercise when you are feeling comfortable and a lot stronger than the first exercises. We recommend doing this around the 9-10 weeks postpartum mark.
Keep your supporting elbow placed underneath your shoulder and gently pull your belly button to spine to engage the abs. As you lift your hip off the floor (if you decide to take this advancement) remember to keep your shoulders drawing down and away from your ears for a nice strong support frame.
These exercises will help restore and regain your fitness after giving birth. Remember, like any exercise do not push yourself and make sure you are doing what feels right for you, whether it’s repetitions, the exercise itself or the tempo, it all comes down to the individual's ability. Love your body and enjoy these memories with your baby.
Liz Nable is the Founder + Director at Xtend Barre Northern Beaches with studios in Mosman, Manly & Mona Vale. She is a Senior Xtend Barre Instructor and is Pilates certified. She is also the Founder and Director of Nable Active.