And just like that, another 4 weeks has flown by. Breast milk mess is more contained. You begin to adjust to a constantly varied sleeping pattern. And, activities that used to be easy are still surprisingly hard. I coach a Zoom Class called Longevity. It is geared towards the senior population. I couldn’t demonstrate the exercises I was asking them to do (granted, they are beast, and do challenging movements). Getting up from the floor was very challenging. I found myself needing to use a piece of furniture to assist, which is especially challenging with a baby in your arms. Getting up from the couch after slouching back breastfeeding required a rocking start of 1, 2, 3, Go!
So, when I was cleared to exercise by my OBGYN, I needed a plan to gradually get back to the fitness activities I love—weight lifting, pull-ups, T2B and MU (drool!), Community Fitness/CrossFit/Functional Fitness (whatever you want to call it these days), running, etc.
1) Re-Build Aerobic Base: Re-introduce elevated heart rate and breathing while being gentle on body. Also, aerobic fitness is the foundation for all activity, basic health/wellness, and stepping stone before high-intensity work. To keep it low impact, I started with long walks (incorporating some hills) and cycling. Oh, and, do this with Nasal Breathing only. Why Nasal Breathing? Long story short, I read a book. Now playing around with what I read. More on this another time.
2) Functional Strengthening: What movements am I struggling to do around the house? How can we begin to train those?
Getting up from floor –> lunge pattern –> split squat
Picking up Skylar –> hip hinge pattern –> deadlift variations
Vacuuming, loading washer/dryer, putting away dishes –> reaching pattern –> press and pull variations
Rocking Skylar to sleep and carrying around all day –> upper body endurance and stability
Carrying groceries, car seat, and stroller in/out of house –> trunk anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation, anti-flexion, anti-extension, and single leg balance/strength –> Core! Core! Core!
3) Core! Core! Core!
Core training doesn’t mean abs, abs, abs. It is training how to perform activities while maintaining a properly organized trunk all while breathing.
Step 1: Learn how to stack the ribs over the pelvis.
Step 2: Learn how to breath while actively maintaining position. Can you breathe while in that position letting your obliques and pelvic floor expand with control. Here is a video:
Step 3: Now, move limbs and perform functional strengthening while maintaining position and breathing.
During any core work and functional strengthening, it is key to make sure coning, doming, or separation is not occurring. This means the exercise I am doing is too challenging (even if I don’t feel like I am working hard). This is how I gauge when to progress and regress exercises.
4) Quality, not quantity. Five minutes of focused breathing work or single leg work is better than trying to cram as many reps as you can.
!!! Remember, this is NOT medical advice. Every post-partum journey is different. Please seek a consult your OBGYN or a physical therapist with any medical questions!!!
Coming up Next: Weeks 8 –12 Back at the Gym!
Examples of actual routines completed:
Breath work for 5 minutes
3x 20/side hip fall out
5 x 5 breaths 90-90 hip lift
20/side sidelying hip abduction
Supine Pec Stretch with breath work
3 sets of 20 reps each banded neutral shoulder ER and IR
3 sets of 30 banded rows and 20/side wall Y lift off
4 rounds of
15 pavloff press
15 tricep extension
15/side bicep curl
4 rounds of
15 lateral raise
15/side calf raise, 2 up 1 down
15/side all four snow angel
:60 bridge hold
10/side supine heel slide
20/side of wall side plank hip abduction
:10 dead bug hold R only then L only
X20 split stance squats (very shallow depth)
X10 supine heel slides
3 sets of
1) :20 standing March hold
2) 5 seated thread the needle to thoracic rotation
3) :20 seated thoracic lift off in squat to parallel
4) :20 lacrosse ball foot doming
EMOTM 20 min
1) 6 weighted scapular rotation/direction
2) 8/side supported 1 arm DB row
3) 8 dual arm DB hammer curl
4) 12 band tears
5) tricep banded extension x 20
Accumulate :90 in knee plank
Supine banded Y
4 rounds of 3 minutes easy, 1 minute moderate, 1 minute rest.