Training for Motherhood: Push & Pull

Once I became a mother, the importance of training for life really set in. Even after just a few weeks of caring for this teeny tiny infant, I could tell that strength and function needed to find their place near the top of my postpartum priorities list. After a good night's sleep and lot's of coffee of course. ;)

Think about how physical your life is even as a brand new mom. All of the sudden, you've got a 7-8 lb weight attached to you that's growing by the day, hour even!

As a seasoned mom, you might not be carrying your kids around anymore, but you’re carrying groceries, laundry up and down stairs, lugging sports equipment into the house or car, etc. When your babies grow up and start having children of their own, it all starts over then, doesn’t it?

So what does training for function even mean? Well, to me, it means two things:

1. We're building a body that functions properly. This means your entire body works as it should, including your core and pelvic floor.

2. We're perfecting movements and muscles that are being worked daily, by making sure they're performed properly to avoid any unnecessary "mom injuries'.

In this 2 part series, I plan to highlight some of my favorite function-specific movements to add into your exercise routines. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every movement needs to be functional. Triceps kickbacks are my jam! But for me, training my clients for the life they lead, to be able to meet the demands and feel pretty BA in the process, is essential and a total game changer.

Today, I will be providing three of my favorite upper body movements that can easily correlate to your life right now. How many times during the day do you think you use push or pulling movements? Do you push a stroller? Pull a carseat out of the car? Lift a child into their high chair?

Chances are, you’re doing them all day whether you notice or not. So, let’s get those muscles nice and strong and make sure you’re able to do them properly!

A note about starting position and alignment: Before you begin, take a look in the mirror and check out your posture. Be sure to stack your ribs over your hips. Don’t flare them out or up. And untuck your tailbone. (Check out the diagram for a bit more help.)

Let’s get started!

Be sure to click on the videos for a demonstration to each exercise.

1. Elevated Chest Press:

Using a weight bench or Swiss ball, angle your bench to about 45 degrees. Sit and then roll into position with your back resting nicely on the bench and weights up by your chest. Breathe into your ribcage and then exhale as you press your weights out in front of you. Lower your weights back down towards your chest and begin again.

2. Half Kneeling One Arm Row (with band):

Begin in a half kneeling position with one knee down and the other bent to a 90 degree angle. Grasp one or both of your handles if you're doubling up, and perform a row by pulling your band in towards the side of your chest. Be sure to get your lats involved as you pull your band towards you. Your palms should finish by facing in towards your side and your elbow should be at about a 90 degree angle.

3. One Arm Overhead Press:

This exercise can also be completed in a seated position. Begin either seated or standing with your ribs stacked. You will have one weight starting up by your shoulder in a racked position and your free arm will be stretched out to your side for balance. Breathe into your ribcage and exhale as you press your weight up and over your head. Pull your weight back down to starting position and begin again.

Try incorporating these movements into your workouts once or twice a week. Shoot for 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps depending on weight and fitness level. Remember to activate your core and floor properly by exhaling during the exertion phase (the most challenging part) of the exercise. Please note that these exercises are pregnancy and postpartum safe. However, if you feel any discomfort or pain during any exercise OR start to experience any pelvic floor dysfunction-like symptoms, please consider removing that exercise and also making an appointment with a local women’s health PT. PFD is common after babies, but not normal.


COMING SOON! A FREE one week fitness workshop for mamas of all seasons! Learn about the importance of building a strong body to help you meet the demands of #momlife. Glute building and core strengthening workouts included! Be sure to contact me for the waitlist.

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