The day you become a parent you realize what all those people were talking about when they were saying time is of the essence. Once we get into the groove of taking care of our child, most of us think about incorporating some things into our life we did before kids – and a big one we become fixated on is fitness. But gym memberships cost money, we may not feel comfortable strutting our stuff in front of others, and many of us don’t feel comfortable leaving the baby with a caretaker (or just don’t have the budget for it).
Because of these reasons (and many more), I’ve put together here 15 Simple But Effective Postpartum Workouts For Beginners that you can do while in proximity to your little one. Before beginning any fitness routine, do check with your medical provider to be sure you’re okay to do so. Most recommend waiting until at least the 6 week postpartum mark.
Plan to get out of your house a few times a week, with your baby in tow, to get some fresh air and get some walking steps in. Being outside will not only give your body some much needed movement, since we spend a lot of time in confined positions postpartum, but it’ll also allow your mind to connect to nature and help prevent cabin fever.
The motion will likely soothe your child, as well, and many moms swear by fresh air to help their little ones sleep better. Walking is the best postpartum exercise for all levels and inspires your whole body to align.
14. High Knees
By doing a high knees exercise you help condition your hip flexors, the muscles and ligaments that connect your upper legs to your hips. Hip flexors tend to become tight during pregnancy due to either a more sedentary lifestyle or simply the ever-changing positioning of your pelvis to make room for childbirth.
Pretending you are walking in one spot, over exaggerate the movements of your walk by lifting your knee up towards your body and step back down. You can swing the opposite arm up for more momentum. Repeat on the other side and march like this up to 10 times, for a set of 4.
13. Wall Push Up
Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of simply pushing yourself off off a wall. It’s a great exercise for those of us intimidated by the traditional push up or those of us who don’t have our core strength at the level we’d like it at.
Step about 3 feet away from any given wall and lean your hands against it, fingers up, a tad wider than your shoulder width. Keep your heels on the floor as you descend your chest towards the wall, bending your elbows outwards as you go. Continue until your nose is almost touching the wall and return to the starting position. It’s okay for your heels to naturally lift off the ground as you push in. Remember to inhale towards the wall and exhale as you straighten your arms.
12. Chair Sit
The chair sit exercise will help promote better posture, which many of us suffer from after being forced by gravity to bend forward during pregnancy. You don’t need to use a chair, a wall that you can lean against works just as well, but a chair provides a good visual for how low you should squat down to make an impact.
There are several different ways to do this – but the basics of the move are about squatting down with your legs shoulder width apart, or leaning against a chair to get down, while keeping your back straight, and pretending you’re about to sit on a chair, but never actually leaning your body weight against it. Once in a seated position, hold it for 5-10 seconds, and come back up. Do this for as many times as you feel comfortable (3-5 sets tends to be the norm).
11. Mountain Climber
This is a prime workout to engage multiple body parts at once without the need for any machines. It works out your core, helps you redevelop coordination and step up your balance game postpartum.
Starting from the traditional plank position, slowly bring one knee up towards your chest and return it just as slowly to starting position. Repeat with the other leg for a total of 8 times, take a break, then do another set. 3 sets is usually a good starting point.
10. Standing Lunges
Standing lunges are always my go-to exercise to feel like my body has done something worthwhile. They’re also so versatile and able to be done literally anywhere.
With your hands on your hips, stand with your feet touching. Lunge forward with the right leg while keeping the left leg bent, your heel off the ground, and your left knee not touching the floor. Hold this position for a count of 2 and step back up. Now alternate with the opposite side. Do 8 squats per leg and repeat for a sequence of 3 for a good burn. If you want to ramp up the exercise, do walking lunges, where you just walk forward by taking lunges, alternating between legs.
9. Plie Squats
This goodie is a key move for anyone who would like to target their inner thigh area (in addition to the glutes).
You can use a weight or not, but the basis of the move lies in your squatting down to the floor with your legs shoulder width apart, while trying to keep your glutes as perpendicular to the floor as possible. Go as far as you can and slowly come back up. Repeat up to 15 times in a set of 3.
There’s nothing as essential to a good physical body than knowing how to stretch it properly. Stretching reduces muscle tension and invigorates your body by helping out its general circulation.
Stretching your limbs has been found to be able to prevent sports injury based on the idea that your muscles are already warmed up before you force or manipulate them a certain way due to exercise. Stretch before your fitness routine and afterwards to gain the most benefits.
7. Incline Walking
Try to switch up your regular walking routine by either going on a path with more hills or rougher terrain. If you own a treadmill make sure you use the incline option as an powerful way to up your fitness regimen to, literally, new heights.
Walking on an incline burns more calories than walking on a levelled floor and acts as a resistance workout for your entire leg, too.
6. Bent Over Dumbbell Row
You may very likely feel the burn of this quick but efficient exercise after the very first time you do it.
Pick up whatever weight of dumbbell you’re comfortable with, stand arms width apart, bend your knees with your torso slightly bent forward and keep your head up. Now, slowly bring up the weights to your core as though you’re rowing and bring them back down slowly. Repeat up to 12-15 times as a set of 3.
5. Wood Chopper
For a simple ab and obliques workout that doesn’t require much, except for a ball or other weight, try the wood chopper move.
Stand more than shoulder width apart, put your arms together above your head while rotating your torso to one side and have this be your starting point. Reverse the movement by pretending you’re chopping a bit log of wood, twist your body to the opposite side diagonally while lowering your arms, and bend your knees. Do this repetition of both stances up to 8 times in a set of 4. You can also modify this move by doing it without a weight and just having your palms together.
Pelvic floor exercises are a must for every mother – and something that you should get used to doing whether you’ve had a vaginal delivery or one by c-section.
They’re very simple to do – just make sure you start off with an empty bladder. Lay down in a comfortable spot, clench your pelvic floor muscles for a count of 10, release, and repeat up til 5-10 times. They even make Kegel balls that you can use as a measure of doing the exercise properly. Ask your doctor about the details if you are unsure of its benefit or safety for you.
3. Push Ups
Nothing beats a classical push up when it comes to a budget friendly and effective way to get back into shape after kids.
Push ups essentially use your own body as resistance and are a wonderful way to strengthen your chest, core and legs. Just remember that as simple of an exercise as it is, your form needs to be correct to get the most benefit from it. When you lower yourself down into a plank then push up, think of keeping an invisible line connecting your head all the way to your heels as straight as possible. Try to do as many as you can and build up to a goal like 5, 10 or 20 in a row.
Balances of all sorts can be experimented with for you to gain back your sense of equilibrium after all the things pregnancy puts us through.
To try an effective one, try an arm and leg extension on your knees. While on all fours, lift up one arm ahead of you to be parallel to the ground. Then, lift the leg opposite to the arm behind you, to also become parallel to the floor. Hold for a count of 5, and repeat on the other side. Repeat the entire sequence for 12-15 times.
1. Floor Bridge
This exercise is wonderful to build your glutes without turning to typically harder exercises like a stepping machine.
Lay comfortably on the floor, with your feet planted firmly shoulder width apart. Draw in your belly button like you’re taking a deep breath in, squeeze your glutes and lift yourself off the floor as high as you can. Repeat 12-15 times for a set of 4.