Is picking up your growing baby the only form of strength training you do? Try these body weight exercises for new mums to help you tone up troublesome areas, all in the comfort of your living room.
Targets: legs, bottom, core, pelvic floor
Ligaments can still be quite loose for up to six months after birth so exercises that focus on good alignment and control will help to reduce your risk of injury, such as lower back pain. The bridge will boost lower body strength, including pelvic floor.
Lie face up on a flat surface, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and your arms relaxed by your side. Slowly lift your hips (push through your heels) and articulate your spine up towards the ceiling. At the top of the movement your knees, hips and shoulders should all be in one perfect line. Whilst you hold the bridge, squeeze your bottom tightly for 30 seconds and light your pelvic floor muscles at the same time. Relax, and then slowly lower back down to the start. Complete 2 – 3 sets of 10 – 15 repetitions.
Targets: back of arms and shoulders
Having a strong upper body is essential to lift, hold, and handle your baby, and all their gear (think prams, car seats, bags etc.).
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair and place your hands outside of thighs on the seat. Walk your feet forward until your bottom is just clearing the chair. Legs should form a 90-degree angle. Slowly bend your arms and lower your bottom down towards the ground, making sure you stay close to the chair. Press through the heel of your hands to rise up to the start and repeat. Complete 2 – 3 sets of 10 – 15 repetitions
MODIFIED SIDE PLANK
Targets: side abdominals, lower back, deep abdominal muscles
Your core is likely to be weak after giving birth, so it’s important to slowly build up your strength and pull the muscles back together. The modified side plank is perfect as there’s no downward or outward pressure like in traditional abs exercises.
Lie on your side with elbow directly under your shoulder, knees bent and feet slightly behind you. Press through your elbow and raise your hips up to engage your core. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds. Rest and repeat on other side. Complete 2 – 3 sets on each side.
Targets: lower back, deep abdominal muscles, buttocks
Lower back pain is a common throughout pregnancy and may return as you start lifting and carrying your baby everyday. This move improves balance, coordination and strength making sure all core muscle are engaged to keep your spine stable during everyday activities like walking, lifting and carrying.
Start in a four point kneeling position with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. Slowly extend your right arm and left leg until fully extended. Keep abdominal muscles engaged and pelvis stable throughout. Lower down back to the start. Repeat on the other side. Complete 2 – 3 sets of 10 – 15 repetitions on each side.
PLIÉ SQUAT WITH CALF RAISE
Targets: buttocks, inner/outer thighs, calves
This feel good exercise targets those troublesome areas most new mums want to focus on: bum, inner and outer thighs, and calves in a safe and effective way.
Place feet slightly wider than hip distance with toes point out at a 45-degree angle. Imagine you are sliding down against a wall as you lower down into a plié squat. Squeeze through your heels to lift back up. At the top of the movement, rise up onto your toes for a calf raise. Lower your heels and repeat. Complete 2 – 3 sets of 10 – 15 repetitions.
As always speak to your doctor before starting exercise.