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7 Exercises to Get Back in Shape After Pregnancy

Posted by Ali | Wednesday November 30, 201122 comments

Getting back into pre-baby shape is a lot harder than plain old getting fit. For one, if you're breast-feeding you are probably raging hungry and two; you have a little one who demands the majority of your time.  Sleep deprivation is a whole other topic.

I've discovered the best way to work out is if my baby can be part of it.  If you saw my recent feature in the Globe and Mail, you already know I'm a pig for Chocolate and that won't be changing any time soon.  I prefer two to three strenuous workouts a week to get in shape, while eating more or less what I want.

I'm going to share with you one of the workouts I do with my baby momma friends with our trainer, Stephanie Sibbio of Think Fitness Studios.  I recommend you check out 6 things you should know before working out after a baby before trying this routine.

For the best results, we do a mix of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Core.  "The idea with HIIT is to take a bunch of different resistance exercises, and do them back to back with little to no rest creating a cardiovascular effect.  This develops strength and muscular endurance at the same time", Stephanie says.  "You can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time - which is obviously ideal for new moms."

Do the following exercises for 30 seconds each, doing as many reps as you can.  Then repeat the entire circuit until you've done it 3 times:

Squat Press

This can be done with baby on or off.  As you squat, make sure your knees aren't over your toes and sit as far back as you can before pushing up with your heels, while raising your arms with weights above your head.

Renegade rows

In a plank position while holding dumbbells, slowly raise one arm at a time bringing your elbow just past your chest, then back to the floor.  Now switch arms.  Try to keep your core as steady as possible.

Plank to Pushup

Joanna Rivard demonstrates what looks like a regular pushup, but it is done in 3 stages.  Stage one; start out in plank position using your forearms for support.

Slowly straighten one arm, then the other to bring you to a full push up, then lower back down

Balance work is important for preventing injuries and also for your daily activities.  "The stronger we get those stabilizer muscles in the lower legs, the better we will be at avoiding injury" Steph advises.

Dynamic Dancer's Pose

Mikaela Clark demonstrates this yoga-inspired exercise that is great for balance.  Kicking one leg out behind you, slowly lower your torso while keeping your back flat and core engaged.

Without stopping in between (or putting your extended leg on the ground), rise to a standing position on the same leg, while bringing your knee up 90 degrees, then repeat.  Momentum will keep this exercise going.

Moving on to Core.  "If your core is strong you will be far less likely to experience going issues in the spine and hips" Steph says.  "The most important muscles to develop are the deepest ones: Transverse Abdominus, Multifidis, Pelvic Floor and Diaphragm."

Do the following core exercises in 5 sets of 20:

Dead Bugs

Lying on your back with your knees in the air bent at 90 degrees, push against one knee as hard as you can, while pushing back on your arm with that same leg.

Keep doing Step 1, then tap lightly on the floor with toes (of opposite leg), bring back up and repeat.

Towel Pikes (If you weren't in pain before, you are about to be).

Lucky me to demonstrate this one!  Using an old small towel under your feet, bring your body to a raised plank position.

Slide your feet forward raising your gluteus into the air, as far as you can comfortably go, then slide back to first position.

This last exercise should be done with 20 steps in each direction, repeated 3 times:

Mini Band Side Shuffles (also known as Fat Blasting the Cr*p Out of The Outer Thighs)

This can be done with or without baby on.  I've done this while tidying up around the house when my baby wants to be held.  When I'm done I'm in a lot of pain but it's the good kind.

Place bands around your ankles and stand pigeon toed, with your feet shoulder width apart.  There should be no resistance in the bands.

Take a small step to the left without bringing your feet together.  The band should never have slack.  Keep shuffling your way a few feet in that direction, and then head back engaging the other side.

Now that you are feeling most excellent after these exercises, mark your workout on your calendar and schedule your next one for 2-3 days later.  Seeing your workouts mapped out in your calendar will help give you a feeling of accomplishment, and get you on a fitness regimen you will want to keep.

Photos: Shiori Mine
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on December 02, 2011  slaroche  1,432 said:

Great tips, wish I would have known this when my little guy was still small enough to fit in a carrier.

on December 01, 2011  Becky  13,128 said:

wow, you're inspirational! I absolutely love you for sharing this with us. And just look at the babies faces!!!! sooooo expressive and adoooooooorable!!! <3

on December 01, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

@ellstar - "baby wrangler"! that's awesome!

I was also among the first to have babies - first of my siblings and siblings-in-law, first of my friends, first of pretty much everyone I knew. So now when everyone is having babies finally, they ask me for advice or I beg to hold their little cuties (even when screaming) because I think I have figured out a few tricks here and there (just a few though). My friend once called me "the Baby Whisperer" - perfect!

@Lyrissa - I also am several years past my last pregnancy but I'm definitely going to incorporate a bunch of these moves into my routine. I already do the Renegade Rows and Squat Presses but I want to try the others. Well, maybe not that horrifying pike thingy. I'm scared of that one :)

on November 30, 2011  ellstar  4,889 said:

I like that in the plank position photo you can see the baby wrangler holding two very curious babies! Super cute.

on November 30, 2011  Aliza  13,970 said:

Great exercise tips! Even without kids I want to start incorporating some of these tricks into my routine

on November 30, 2011  AngelinaRosaries  2,303 said:

Stroller runs did it for me. I am a mom of 3 kids (7, 2 and 1), and I do not own a car. While on maternity leave, I bought a BOB revolution stroller (DOU) so two babies ride. I am lucky to live in Ottawa, so I run along Ottawa River. Also joined Strollercise at Boomerang kids, though I have not come regularly. Grocery runs and even winter runs, skating over the frozen Rideau Canal, the stroller keep my baby safe and happy. Last May 2011, I ran a marathon, Kieren my youngest was only 11 months. I could have gone to gym and hired a trainer, but I won't be able to afford it with my very limited budget. For those on limited budget, a running stroller, unlimited cup is coffee is best investment. And before you run, laugh. Watch you tube funny videos. Why? When you laugh, it opens your airway, therefore you don't run out of steam once you start pounding the pavement.
Great looking workout, and hope it keep you ladies in shape:)

on November 30, 2011  LadyChick234234  3,701 said:

Good workout tips for all of us regardless of whether we have babies or not!

on November 30, 2011  PDladybug  2,853 said:

The weight exercises look a bit dangerous with the baby in the front of their mothers.

on November 30, 2011  breezesandblessings  264 said:

I'm definitely bookmarking this for after my little one comes along!

on November 30, 2011  Catherinekelly27  314 said:

Starting late but going to try this out!

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