The New Mama's Guide: Top 3 Exercises
To all of my new mamas out there, congratulations! Such a special time in your lives, and one that goes way too fast for my liking! Of course, this is coming from a mama of an almost two year old, who still feels like she had her little girl yesterday!
For those of you who are now coming around to the idea of returning to exercise, I know it can feel like pretty strange territory. Where should you even start? What might have felt great before or during pregnancy, may not after having your baby. Maybe recovery has been a little bit more difficult than expected. Maybe your baby is already months old and you're just now finding your rhythm! The everyday stuff as a new mom is HARD. Even if it isn't your first, every fourth trimester can be so different.
What's even more difficult is trying to navigate through all of the Fit Mom HIITS and Baby Weight Busters in a simple internet search. So much white noise. So much unnecessary pressure. So many exercises that I really don't think any new mama should be doing right out the gate.
Taking what I learned from my own experience when returning to exercise after having my sweet girl and and combining it with the education I received through becoming a postnatal fitness specialist, I've created a specialized training guide specifically for YOU, the new mama. We start at the center: the core and pelvic floor. We focus on recovery and strengthening. We move gently with intention. We focus on perfecting the movements that mothers perform every single day, multiple times throughout the course of even just the morning. If you were to keep track of the number of times you squatted or lifted something throughout the day, I'm quite certain you would easily hit the double digits without even batting an eye.
Focusing on foundation will not only get you feeling strong and stable, but it can also help in relieving the common but NOT normal mama related discomforts such as unhealed diastasis, aka abdominal separation and pelvic floor dysfunction such as incontinence. Here are two articles to check out for more information on these two VERY important topics:
1. Pelvic Floor
*Please note that as mentioned in both articles listed above, after the birth of your baby, I highly recommend finding a pelvic floor physical therapist in the area and making an appointment. Being able to sit down with a professional who can let you know exactly how you're recovering after birth is a really great thing!
So what do The New Mama's Guide workouts look like? Here are THREE of the top exercises I believe every mama should be doing to create the foundation for returning to exercise safely as well as just live a life without those common mama injuries and discomforts like lower back pain, hip pain or tightness, pelvic instability, core and floor weakness, etc.
1. Core and Floor Connection Breath: This is where it all begins. This is what I coach all of my clients on first. And guess what? It's not just for when you're working out. This is a tool to be used whenever you find yourself squatting, lifting, bending, pulling, etc. To learn how to implement this, be sure to check out this article first!
2. Squats: Begin by either using a bench or chair to squat onto until you feel stable enough to perform a full squat. Stand in neutral position with your feet about shoulder width apart (a bit wider is fine), your ribs should be stacked over your hips, with tailbone untucked. Hinge at your hips and slowly lower your glutes down to your chair or bench. Your knees should not go past your toes and thighs should be close to parallel with the ground. (Your squats will get deeper as you get stronger.) Sit if needed or lightly tap your glutes on the chair and begin your return to neutral position by pressing through your heels. Remember to use your core and floor connection breath throughout each exercise.
3. Glute Bridge: Believe it or not, I was doing these wrong for quite a few years. Instead of focusing on creating that big arch in your back, think about just lifting to align your spine. This movement will not only engage your lower back, glutes, and quads, but by including your special breath, your core and floor will activate as well!
Begin by lowering and rolling into a supine position with your knees bent and hands resting down by your sides. Press into your heels and slowly press your glutes off of the floor, focusing on that "lift to align" visual. Squeeze your glutes (without tucking your tailbone) and quads at the top and slowly begin to lower back down.
Remember mamas, this is not a race. Pick your pace wisely. Move mindfully with intention, breathe, and build that strong foundation first.
For 12 weeks of core, pelvic floor, and total body workouts made specifically for the new mama PLUS a written guide covering tons of new mama topics, be sure to check out the LMF Shop! Coaching, live training, and support is available as well.