After nine months of your body going through laborious changes, it can be frustrating when everything doesn’t automatically pop back into place. But don’t worry, there are a few exercises you can do that will help strengthen your post-baby body.
“Creating a fitness routine is about scheduling,” says Erica Ziel, the founder of Knocked-Up Fitness. “Schedule workouts daily and work out with a friend to keep you accountable.” You don’t have to focus on just cardio routines, either. “Strength training, even if it’s just your own body weight, is essential for burning fat,” says Jenelle Salazar, a new mom and personal trainer. “Lift weights to build lean muscles and burn more fat at rest.”
Try these 15 post-pregnancy workout exercises experts recommend to get back in shape:
1. Power walk
Ziel advises new moms to power walk. Grab your baby, stroller, trainers and get moving. You can even make it social to extend your walks and have more fun. Consider joining up with a friend to catch up as you get fit.
2. Total-body circuit routine
Get your heart rate up with a full-body workout. A circuit including jump squats, forward lunges, bench dips and dumbbell bicep curls can be done anywhere, says personal trainer Lori Davey.
3. Prone plank
David Reavy, a performance therapy expert, encourages new moms to do planks to improve their core strength. Lie face down with your elbows under your shoulders. Then engage your abs and push up onto your forearms and toes so your body is parallel with the ground and your back is flat. Hold for as long as you can, release and repeat.
4. Rotational lunge
Start with one foot in front of you and one behind. Bend the back knee so your legs form two 90-degree angles. Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. Twist your torso to the right and left as you hold.
5. Pelvic thrusts
Salazar recommends pelvic thrusts to tone the hips, core and pelvic floor. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor hip-width apart. Lift the pelvis up, pressing hips high and squeezing the buttocks. Hold for one count, then slowly release down to the floor. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
6. Supermoms (aka Supermans)
To build core strength, lie face down and squeeze your lower back to raise your arms, legs and chest. Lift and lower like reverse sit-ups, or hold up to 30 seconds, then rest. Do three sets of 12 to 15.
7. Half boat
Sit tall on the floor, knees bent. Extend arms forward with palms facing down. Engaging your abs, lean back and lift both knees toward your chest while stretching your arms straight out and balancing your pelvis and glutes. Keep your back straight.
8. Mountain climbers
Assume a pushup position, arms straight, hands directly under your chest. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to ankles. Lift your right foot and raise your knee as close to your chest as possible. Quickly return to starting position and do the same on the other side.
9. Side planks
Lie on the left side of your body with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Tighten your core. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Hold as long as you can before releasing and switching sides.
10. Bicep curls
Holding small weights, keep both elbows close to your sides and pump the bottom half of your arm up and down completely. Do three sets of 12 on each arm.
11. Squat thrusts
Add some intensity to your core exercise. Stand up straight, then push hips back and lower into a squat. As you squat down, place your hands on the floor in front of you, shifting your weight to them. Kick your legs backward, then quickly bring legs back to a squat and stand.
12. Tricep dips
Stand in front of a chair and place hands on the seat behind you. Using only your arms for support, dip as low as you can and come back up. Do three sets of 10.
13. Modified pushups
Until you’re ready for a full pushup, start on your hands and knees instead of your toes. Repeat three sets of 15.
14. Leg lifts
Burn fat from the lower tummy with leg lifts. Lie on your back with your legs straight. Raise and lower your legs, without letting your feet touch the ground between lifts. Do three sets of 10.
15. Walking lunges
Take a long step forward, bending your legs so both knees are 90 degrees. Lift through the heel of the front foot and return to standing position. Do four sets of 25, switching sides as you go.
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