I realized lately one of the things about my pre-children days I totally took for granted was the ability to just get up, get dressed for the gym or a run, then leave the house. Whenever I wanted. There was no nap schedule, no small person who needed constant supervision and attention, no reason I couldn’t plan my workout for whenever it suited me.
Welcome to parenthood! Even when you’re striving to make fitness a priority, if your kids are sleeping and you’re home with them, you are stuck there. Enter the living room workout. Miraculously, in the afternoons both my boys’ naptime overlap – I know, I don’t know how I got so lucky. That means I have time to squeeze in a quick workout on those days I can’t get to the gym, to yoga, or out for a run.
This postpartum workout I’ve put together is exactly the kind of workout I’ve been doing when I have time while the monkeys are asleep. Even if you’re not postpartum, this is a great bodyweight workout you could do in your hotel room traveling, before or after a run, or anywhere at all, to improve mobility and endurance. Let me know if you try it out!
This postpartum workout is a no-equipment, body weight workout specifically targeted at beginning to rebuild strength following your recovery. Don’t forget to check my disclaimer – not every workout I post will be right for you.
Try the following exercises as a circuit – moving from one to another quickly. Start out with 2 sets of 15 repetitions, then once the workout becomes easier for you, you can either change the repetitions to 2 sets of 20 – 25; or 3 sets of 15. You want to be reaching fatigue by the last repetition. If you feel like the energizer bunny with these moves, it may be worthwhile for you to invest in some weights to add intensity to your workout.
Start out with a Sumo Squat. Standing with a wide stance and feet angled out about 45 degrees, slowly lower into a squat, making sure your knees are tracking over your toes, then slowing come back up to standing.
Move on to the Crossover Lunge. Start in a standing position, then lunge one leg forward and in front of the standing leg, letting both knees bend. Push into the lunging leg as you come back up to standing.
For Chair Pose, start by standing on the mat with feet together and arms by your sides. Inhale as you raise your arms over your head, then exhale and lower back into a squat position. Inhale again and draw your shoulder blades down your back, pulling your elbows back towards your ears. Most of your weight should be in your heels, so you could raise your toes off the mat without losing balance. Hold for several breaths.
If you’re like me, your abdominals are weak after being stretched out over nine months! Planking is a great way to start to rebuild strength and endurance in your midsection, but you may find it’s easier to start with an Elevated Plank before going down to the mat. Either way, keep your shoulders over your wrists, your glutes contracted, your neck in line with the rest of your spine (i.e. don’t crane your neck up, or drop your head) and tighten your quads. Try a 20 second plank to begin, eventually working your way up to a 60 second plank.
The Reverse Crunch is literally that – you’re starting at the top of a sit up position, then slowly lowering back towards the floor, resisting gravity by contracting your abdominals. Once you are laying back on the mat, come back up to the top position. (You may not be able to do a sit up to get back to the start position – that’s okay, just use a hand or two on the floor to help yourself back up.) If you are particularly weak, or if you have diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal wall at the ligament), you can use a towel or one of the many muslin cloths you probably have lying around for burping and use it to pull the sides of your torso in towards your midline as you lower.
Exercises for hip strengthening have always been a priority for me as a runner, more so now that I’m slowly increasing my mileage postpartum. For Lateral Leg Lifts, start by lying on your side on the mat, propping yourself up on one elbow. With your bottom leg bent, slowly raise your straight top leg, being careful not to let your toes point up as you raise the leg. (This move works your gluteus medius, on the side of your hip. When you point your toes up, your hip flexors at the front of your hip will take over). Lower slowly back to your start position.
Okay, I’m cheating a little at the bodyweight part of this workout with these Medial Leg Lifts. This move can be effective without a bodybar – I just wanted to use one for the photo so you can see the placement of it, in case you want to add weight when you’re at the gym. Lying on your side on the mat, propping yourself up on one elbow, bend the knee of your top leg with your foot behind your bottom leg. (Your weight should be resting in your elbow and on the side of your hip.) Slowly raise your straight lower leg, again being careful not to point the toes up as you raise. Slowly lower back to start position.
This is a great bodyweight postpartum workout to begin working on regaining strength and mobility. The great thing about being postpartum, or really any time you are essentially starting from scratch with strength training, is that you will see a lot of progress quickly – which is always motivating.
Once this workout becomes easy for you, progress each exercise – add a push up to the plank, or try lateral lunges instead of leg lifts, for example.
Enjoy working out those incredible baby-making bodies, mamas! 🙂
P.S: My three-quarter tights are by Spandits! The print is called Tropical Tie Dye and because I’m a Spandits Ambassador, you can save 10% off your order by using the code SPANDITSLOVE at checkout. Shop the in stock section for an even bigger discount! Don’t forget to tell them Carly sent you. 🙂
If you workout at home, do you do the same exercises and progress them, or do you switch up your workout every time?