Post pregnancy exercise. The phrase alone can evoke so many different reactions! You might be so consumed with your new bundle that you're feeling hesitant to focus on mommy. Perhaps the thought of fitting one more thing into your schedule gives you anxiety. But, maybe you're mourning the loss of extended workouts, eager to get back in your pre-pregnancy clothes!
Whatever feelings you have about getting back into a workout routine, the most important thing is to cultivate a healthy, happy perspective on working out. Your body has changed to take care of your child and it'll need gentle rehabilitation before any sort of vigorous exercises can be well received.
You'll also have to accept you'll have unique sensitivities so there's no need to compare yourself to others or create expectations.
With this workout, you'll perform mild and moderate ab exercises to start rebuilding the foundation in your abs. Then you'll focus on stretching and realigning of your hips and pelvis. Since the lower body is a bit less sensitive than the abs, we can work in more vigorous exercises here. Finally, you'll finish with a chest expansion exercise to correct your strained posture, improve blood flow and encourage breast milk production.
Mommy Moves Workout
I've included a yoga block in most of the exercises below — squeezing the block between your thighs intensifies core and pelvic floor engagement. If you don't have a block, you can use a tightly rolled towel. Also, make sure you've been cleared by your doctor to start exercising again.
All-Fours Knee Pull
Use this move to begin to awaken your core while stretching and connecting your entire body.
Come to all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Engage your abs and maintain a flat back.
Extend the left arm forward, palm faces inward. Extend opposite leg back so foot is level with extended arm. Remember to keep hip points square to floor.
Contract your abdomen and pull the extended knee in while simultaneously pulling in the extended arm. They should meet in the middle.
In a controlled motion, extend both again. Repeat 15 times, then switch sides.
Half Roll Back With Block
This move uses gravity to aid you in strengthening the muscles that wrap around your core.
Begin seated with knees bent, legs together. Place the block between your thighs and engage to hold it in place. Holding onto your thighs for support, lean back slightly, tucking the tailbone and bracing the core.
Release your grip and reach arms forward. This is your start position. Slowly lower back, rolling down one vertebrae at a time. Roll back upwith the same control. Complete 30 repetitions.
This is a great move for aligning your pelvis and working into the deep, lower ab muscles.
Lie on your back with your arms resting at your sides. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, with knees over hips and shins parallel to the floor.
Place the block between your shins and engage to hold it in place. This is your start position.
Draw your core in and press your low back against the floor as you carefully lower your thighs toward floor, keeping both legs at 90 degrees. Tap your toes very lightly on the floor and use your coreto draw them back up to your starting position. Complete 30 repetitions.
Bridge With Block
Feel a stretch in pelvis and hips, as well as engagement in your abs with this move.
Lie on your back with your arms resting at your sides, knees bent and feet on the floor hips distance apart. Place the block between your thighs and engage to hold it in place.
Press into your feet to lift your hips toward the ceiling. Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet.
Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees. Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Hold for up to one minute. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra.
Complete 10 repetitions with your breath.
Remember to engage through your whole body for full effect while performing this hamstring focused move.
Lie face down in a prone position with your legs extended long, place the block between your calves and squeeze your thighs and ankles together. Cross your arms and rest your head on your forearms.
Flex your feet as you draw your heels up towards your glutes. Lower down with control.
Complete 20 repetitions.
This movement is a great strengthening and shaping exercise for your glues as well as a nice hip opener.
Lie face down in a prone position with your legs extended long, place the block between your calves and squeeze your thighs and ankles together. Then bend your knees 90 degrees, shins perpendicular to the ground. Cross your arms and rest your head on your forearms.
Engage through your whole body as you lift your legs from your hip flexors through your feet. Imagine pushing your flexed feet against the ceiling. Hold and lower down softly.
Complete 20 repetitions.
Use this heart opening exercise to strengthen your posture and aid in breathing.
Begin seated in a cross legged position. Inhale and stretch your right arm straight out to the right, parallel to the floor. Rotate your arm towards as far as you can toward the wall behind you.
Exhale as you bring that arm behind your torso and slowly work your forearm up between your shoulder blades until it's parallel to your spine.
Reach your left arm straight up to the sky, bend at your elbow and allow
your left palm to drop to your upper back. If you can, clasp your hands together and hold the pose for three breaths. (If your hands don't touch, that's fine — try grabbing onto your shirt.) Take your time coming out of the pose and switch sides.
Complete the pose twice on each side.
Photos courtesy of author