Giving birth to a child is one of the most profound and amazing experiences in a woman’s life.
However, after the early weeks/months of the newborn phase, you might find yourself paying extra attention to your body and things may feel a little different — and that’s OK! You just had a baby — you are a superwoman.
So, while you’ve earned the right to relax after growing a baby in your belly for nine months, it won’t be long until you feel the desire to start some postpartum workouts.
Many women worry that their body will never be the way it was. Well, it might not be exactly the same, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look bomb in your bikini ever again.
With the right attitude, diet, and exercise plan, you can get your strength, balance, and body back!
Read on for our top 9 postpartum workout moves to help support overall strength and tone
#1 Air Squats
Doing air squats is one of the best ways to strengthen up your legs and work your core at the same time.
For this postpartum workout move:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Leading with your butt, start to squat down to the floor in a slow, controlled movement.
- Keep your chest up and your back straight.
- Keep your heels glued to the floor. You should not be up on your toes, it’s bad for your knees.
- Squat down until your hip joint is even with your knee joint if you can. You can also go lower if you’re comfortable doing so.
- Stand back up in a controlled movement, keeping your heels down, chest up, and back straight through the whole movement.
- That’s one rep.
#2 Forearm Planks
Being pregnant often stretches or even separates a mother’s abdominal muscles. It’s vital in postpartum workouts to repair the damage and build strength in the core after giving birth. A wonderful way to build intrinsic core muscles is by planking.
Here’s how to do it:
- Lay down on your belly.
- Prop yourself up on your toes and elbows, forearms flat on the ground.
- Your legs, back, and core should be straight and rigid.
- The goal is not to stay there as long as possible, but to stay there as long as possible with good form.
#3 Glute/Hamstring Bridge
The glute/hamstring bridge is great for the back of your thighs, your butt, and your core.
To perform this exercise:
- Lay flat on your back.
- Bring your feet close to your butt and plant them flat on the ground, knees up.
- Push through your legs to extend your hips as high in the air as possible.
- Your upper back and shoulders should remain in contact as well as your arms.
- You can either do slow repetitions or hold it for as long as you can.
#4 Jump-less Burpee
Also known as squat-thrusts, a burpee is one of the best postpartum workout moves for a full body exercise.
To do a jump-less burpee:
- Start standing straight up, feet shoulder width apart.
- Squat down to the ground, hands on the floor right in front of your knees.
- Kick both legs back at one, to end in a push-up position.
- Without pausing, jump both legs back in.
- Stand up.
Lunges are an all-around good exercise for thighs and butt. No postpartum workout should be without it.
To perform lunges:
- Start standing straight up, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step forward with either leg, ensuring you have good balance.
- Dip straight down, try to maintain a 90-degree angle in both legs.
- The forward leg’s knee should be directly over the ankle to prevent knee pain.
- Stand straight up, repeat on the other side.
Lunges can be done as a stationary or walking exercise.
#6 Standing Overhead Press
Postpartum workouts can’t just be all about legs and core, you’ve got to have upper body strength too!
To perform an overhead shoulder press:
- Use dumbbells or equal weight in each hand.
- Start with your wrists right beside your shoulders.
- Press the dumbbells straight up, ending with arms locked out directly overhead.
- Return to starting position and repeat.
#7 Straight Leg Deadlifts
The straight leg deadlift is the exercise of postpartum workout champions. It works your back, legs, and core.
- Have a balanced weighted object or two objects of equal weight.
- With the weight directly in front of your feet, bend down to pick it up.
- Keep your back straight and hinge at the hips, allowing little bend in your knees.
- You will feel tightness in your hamstrings, butt, and lower back.
- Keeping a straight back and tight core, lift the object to waist height, keeping the arms straight.
#8 Pushups/Assisted Pushups
To strengthen shoulders, arms, chest, and core, there is no other exercise better than the pushup.
- Lay down on the floor, belly down.
- Plant your palms on the ground right beside your shoulders.
- Posture up onto your toes. (Use knees for modification)
- Keeping your elbows wide, but behind your shoulder, push your upper body off the ground, ending at an extended arm position.
The bird-dog is a great postpartum workout move for balance, core strength and coordination. Here’s how to do it:
- Start on hands and knees, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.
- Simultaneously raise your right arm and your left leg to a straight, horizontal position.
- Keep your core tight.
- Slowly lower your arm and leg back to the starting position.
Understanding Postpartum Workouts
Hold on! Don’t jump into it just yet. Before you start your postpartum workouts, there are a couple of things we need to talk about.
If you’re a breastfeeding mama, you need your vitamins and nutrients, especially if you plan to start working out. It’s estimated that breastfeeding burns an extra 500 calories a day. That’s a good thing, right? However, cutting too many calories and not getting enough nutrients may have negative side effects for both you and your baby. What you eat affects the quality of your breastmilk. It also influences how much energy and immunity you have, which are vital to the well-being of you and your baby.
Due to the fast-paced society we all live in, almost all of us are chronically sleep-deprived. As a new mom, recovering from childbirth, you need more sleep than you did before, which we all know is even more difficult with a brand new baby. Regarding your postpartum workouts, your body needs sleep to rest, recover, grow, and get stronger.
Listen to your body. If it’s telling you to stop, do it. You can be the mind-over-matter machine later. Right now, you need to be nice to your body. Don’t push it too hard.
Just as it took time and patience to grow a child, it’s going to take time and patience to get your body whipped back into shape. Don’t sweat it. This is normal and totally okay. Give yourself grace, and always listen to your body.
The Bottom Line
And one last final, but very important thing…don’t be afraid to ask for help. Postpartum workouts are made even harder if you have to stop every 10 minutes to tend to your little one. Ask your mom, mother-in-law, sister, husband, or whoever to help. You don’t need to do this alone, and it’s extremely important you take some time for yourself. For extra help right on your phone, download our free FitOn app now for more premium, at home workouts you can do in between naps and feedings!