Exercise after pregnancy
As featured in HK Magazine
Getting back into exercise after pregnancy can be a challenging and daunting prospect. It is important to check with your GP or obstetrician prior to commencing any physical activity as a precaution and to enable a healthy recovery. Given the nature of a natural versus C-section birth, there are different recommended time frames before starting.
All exercises are 4 x 45secs on, 15secs off (4mins)
1. Plank - Start face down on your stomach with your elbows and toes on the ground. Engage the abdominal muscles and lift your hips up taking your knees off the ground. Hold your stomach tight, keeping the back flat and hips down, hold still for 45secs.
This is a simple and effective core exercise targeting the abdominals and lower back that can be done anywhere. A core stabilization exercise needs to be established before getting into more advanced abdominal training.
2. DB squats – begin in a standing position, spine long, core engaged and feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Send your hips back and lower yourself into a controlled squat – like you are sitting in an imaginary chair. Press your heels into the floor and stand up.
3. DB stiff legged deadlift – Start with feet at a hip width position, shoulders back and dumbbells in front resting on your thighs. Push the hips back and maintain straight legs while sliding the dumbbells down the thighs/shins until you feel a good stretch in the back of the legs (hamstrings). Be careful of fatigue in the lower back and rest when you need.
4. DB alternating lunges – start in a standing position, take a step forward and drop the back knee to the ground, keeping the back straight and chest up. Hold for 1 second and then push back on the front foot. Both knees should be at 90 degrees on the lunge. Repeat on other side.
Squats, deadlifts and lunges are great functional, lower body exercises that stress all of the lower limb muscles (including quads, hamstrings and gluts).
5. DB Piston press – Feet are in shoulder width position, start with the dumbbells just above shoulders (palms facing inwards). Press the dumbbell into the air one at a time, locking the elbows out at the top and then back down to shoulder height. Repeat on other side.
This is a great exercise to strength the shoulder area while maintaining good posture and core stability.
Most importantly listen to your body and stop if anything feels uncomfortable. Many of us rush back into exercise after pregnancy and we can do more damage than good. Take your time, enjoy time with your little one and rest when you need.