What are the best exercises for new mums?
We’ve got the Answer!
You’ve had your 6 week check and your doctor has told you that it is safe for you to start exercising again! Hooray! But before you hit the gym or boot camp, stop + wait a minute.
You can sometimes do more harm than good if you push your body beyond what it is ready for. Returning to exercise with safe and gentle movements that focus on building strength from the inside, means you will be helping your body to repair (tick!) plus it also means that you will be way more likely to avoid common post natal injuries (double tick). And! You’ll be able to build your fitness and strength faster than if you just jump on a treadmill and go for it (triple tick!).
We chat to post natal fitness expert Kimmy Smith about what are the exercises new Mums should be doing. Kimmy is a former professional athlete and the author of the Fit Mummy Project the complete online guide to post natal fitness.
There are so many benefits to gently exercising after the birth of your baby. I am not talking about high intensity, out-of-breath exercise, here. In the Fit Mummy Project I show new Mums how to return to exercise safely in a way that will help them to build strength from the inside out.
I focus on two types of movement.
- Controlled exercises which will allow you to isolate and strengthen certain smaller muscle groups. These exercises should be done slowly with a lot of control. It is important that you try to isolate the muscles you should be working, and feel each movement.
- Functional movements. These are movements that you are going to be doing anyway. If you move from sitting to standing at all during your day, you are performing a squat. I think that you are better off practicing these movements during a training session, so that you can perform them correctly during the rest of your day.
1. Quad Arm and Leg Slides
Great for activating your deep core abdominals and stabilizing muscles.
- Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Gently draw your belly button back towards your spine.
- Focus on keeping your hips and shoulders stable and parallel to the ground.
- Slowly slide your right leg out behind you whilst keeping everything else still.
- Slide your right leg back in and repeat with your left leg, then right arm, then left arm.
- Repeat 5 rounds.
2. Wall Squat Holds
Great for toning your legs and butt!
- Stand against a wall with your feet hip- distance apart, back straight and head looking forward.
- Activate your pelvic floor by drawing in and up.
- As you activate your pelvic floor, think about also engaging your deep core abdominal muscles by gently drawing your belly button back towards your spine.
- Slide your bottom down the wall until you are in a squat position. Slide down to what feels comfortable, with the aim of working your way down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Keep your weight even between your feet and hold for 30 seconds. Work your way up to a 60-second hold.
- Slide back up the wall to the start position.
Tip! This is such a great exercise to practice your pelvic floor. When you are in the squat position, you can practice some quick pelvic floor pulses or stronger holds. It is important to practice these exercises as well as your longer holds, as they help when you need to turn your pelvic floor on quickly— like when you need to cough or sneeze!
3. Hip Raises
Great for activating your glutes and toning your butt and thighs.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet at.
Activate your pelvic floor by drawing in and up to a hold that you can maintain.
As you activate your pelvic floor, think about also engaging your deep core abdominal muscles by gently zipping up through your midline.
- Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips by rolling up one vertebrae at a time so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground.
- Repeat 10 reps.
4. Lunge Pulses
Great for creating lean and toned thighs!
- Start with feet hip-width apart whilst standing tall. Place your hands on your hips.
- Activate your pelvic floor by drawing in and up to a hold that you can maintain.
- As you activate your pelvic floor, think about also engaging your deep core abdominal muscles by gently zipping up through your midline.
- Step forward around half a metre onto your left leg.
- Drop your back knee towards the ground. At the bottom of the lunge, your back knee should be directly under your body in a straight line to the top of your head.
- Keep your head looking forward, chest upright and brace through your core.
- Push back up to a standing position with your left leg still forward.
- Repeat dropping down and pushing back up in pulse movement for 10 reps.
- Repeat on the right hand side.
5. Plie Squat Pulses
Great for building strong + lean legs!
- Find a bench, chair or even pram handle that you can use as support for this exercise.
- Bring your feet together so your heels are touching and your toes are 45 degrees angles.
- Rise up onto the balls of your feet using your support to help with balance.
- Bending at the knees do 10 squats followed by 10 tiny pulses trying to keep your heels off the ground.
- Step your feet about hip distance apart and repeat.
6. Band / Towel Rows
Great upper body strengthening exercise!
This is also a great exercise to combat all that hunching we do as new Mums.
- Using a band or a towel, place around a pole and grab the ends of the band or towel.
- Take a step back from the pole, so your arms are extended and towel is lax.
- Draw your shoulder blades together like you are trying to squeeze a pencil between them.
- Bend your elbows and pull them back so that they are in line with your ribs.
- Keep squeezing your shoulder blades!
- Extend your arms back to the start position.
- Repeat 10 reps.
Make it into a workout:
Repeat 10 of each exercise followed by a 1 minute rest. Do 3 rounds.
Kimmy is the founder of www.kimmysmithfit.com a fitness and wellness hub created to help all Mums feel beautiful, fit and strong. Kimmy is the author of the Fit Mummy Project – the Complete Online guide to Post Natal Fitness and Wellbeing. She is also a Mummy to two beautiful girls, a former professional athlete, a personal trainer and yoga teacher specialising in post natal health.
- Website: www.kimmysmithfit.com
- Facebook: @fitmummysquad
- Instagram: @kimmysmithfit