New moms have enough to worry about without adding in physical fitness questions—including when and how to get moving again. That’s where I can help! Last week I touched on the “how,” and four important things for every new mom to consider before working out again: take it slow, listen to your body and expert medical advice, and embrace your future—re-prioritization!
Once you are ready to start adding activity (when cleared by your doctor!), here’s a good workout to get you back in the game. Each exercise has been selected to help offset the physical stress of motherhood. We’ll focus on core stability in a variety of positions, and strength that will help you carry, lift, and move your child through life—in addition to all their paraphernalia!
In an effort to maximize your time, try to increase the intensity as you can, and decrease your downtime between exercises to enhance the metabolic effect. You can do this workout anywhere, anytime. Be sure to rest a day before tackling this again, or complete a different workout such as yoga or cardio in between.
Take 3-5 minutes to get your body ready for the workout. If you’re at the gym, hop on a piece of cardio equipment and begin at an easy intensity and move toward a moderate intensity. You should be able to talk in sentences, but not carry on a conversation when you are done. You should also feel warmer internally and perhaps have broken a sweat. If you’re at home, try marching in place or step touching (side to side). Then, progress to jogging in place, high knee runs, and a few jumping jacks.
1. Single Arm Push Press
Standing with your feet shoulder distance apart, hold a weight in one hand at your shoulder (hand weight, medicine ball, kettlebell or even large canned good). Take your time lowering down into a squat position and then drive the weight straight overhead as you return to the standing position. Try to keep your torso upright and positioned straight forward throughout. Complete 10 with your right arm, followed by 10 with your left.
2. Push Up to Side Plank
Begin in an upward push-up position. Lower your chest toward the ground and as you push up, transfer your weight to the left hand and open your body to the right, into a side plank. Hold for a count of 3 and return to the pushup position. Complete 10 total repetitions.
3. Side Lunge to Balance
Begin holding a weight in each hand, with your feet together, and then step with your right foot into a side lunge. Your right leg will be in a squatting position and your left leg will be straight. As you push back up, lift your right leg up and out to the side (not too high) and balance on your left leg. Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. Then, switch and repeat on the opposite leg.
4. Plank Lift & Row
Begin in an upward plank position with hand weights positioned close to (or under) your hands. Row your right arm up and in toward your chest, leading with the elbow and keeping your hips steady. Lower the arm and then lift your right leg off the ground to balance for a count of three. Repeat with your left side. Complete a total of 10 row and leg lifts.
5. Single Leg Deadlift
Stand with your feet together and then extend your right leg behind you. Tilt from the hips, with your chest coming forward as your back leg lifts off the ground. The goal is to have your chest and leg parallel to the floor. Balance for a count of 3 and then return to standing. Feel free to add weight to the exercise; preferably a single weight held in the opposite arm as the leg you are balancing on. Complete 10 repetitions on the right before switching to the left.
6. Dead Bug
Lie on your back with arms reaching toward ceiling, directly over the shoulders, and knees bent, shins parallel to the ceiling. Carefully extend one leg out and towards the ground as the opposite arm reaches back overhead. Only go as far as you can without allowing your low back to arch away from the floor. Pause, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Complete 10 repetitions.
7. Alternating Superman
Lie face down with your arms and legs fully outstretched. Keeping your shoulders and hips pressed against the floor, lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously. Pause and lower your limbs back to start position before repeating with the opposite arm and leg. Be sure to reach out rather than focus on lifting up. Complete 10 repetitions.
If time (and energy!) permits, repeat these exercises a second time through before ending with a few stretches to finish up your workout.