5 Great Exercises for Feeling Strong & Energetic Postpartum

by Shannon Logan
5 Great Exercises for Feeling Strong & Energetic Postpartum

Shannon Logan, owner, and trainer at True Core Performance and Wellness in Annapolis, MD, offers a simple routine for getting your groove back.

Giving birth was one of the most inspiring events of my life. Having the ability to actually grow another human and then bring it into the world, WOW! My mind can still barely comprehend the reality of it. 

Such an amazing physical feat requires  some amazing adaptations, as well as time to rest and recuperate. The exercises here are a starting point for new moms who are ready to start being active again. Of course, always clear any postpartum physical activity with your physician.  

These five exercises done three to four times a week can help strengthen, stabilize, and energize your body. The entire routine should only take about 10 to 15 minutes, but it can go a long way towards helping you feel strong and energetic again. 

A.  Glute Bridge with Kick Out – 10 reps per side 

This muscle group should be involved in almost everything we do, postpartum or not.  The gluten acts as a huge stabilizing source for the pelvis, as well as a power producer.  Getting your glutes firing properly again can help with carrying that ever-growing baby.  

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent.
  2. Lift your hips as high as you can, simultaneously squeezing your butt cheeks and keeping your shoulder blades on the floor. Imagine a penny between your butt checks that you don’t want to drop. 
  3. Once you are in the bridge position, extend one lower leg straight out and hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Lower the leg, then kick and hold the opposite leg.
  5. Try to keep the hips even and in the same line the whole time. You might notice one hip drops a little bit, depending on your strength on each side. Do your best and gradually the hips will become more and more leveled 

**To make this exercise harder you can hold a small ball between your knees while you do it. This will help activate on the inside of your thighs too, a twofer! 

B. Bird Dog – 10 reps per side 

This works both your upper and lower body and helps build core stability, as well as strength and endurance in your hamstrings, glutes, and hips. . 

  1. Kneel with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Try to keep your back in a nice straight line, as if it was a table you could rest a cup of coffee on. 
  2. Raise your right arm and left leg. Straighten both in opposite directions, keeping your abs braced, stomach in, and your whole body in a straight line from head to foot. Imagine the area around your belly button pulling in and back towards your spine.  The goal is to resist rotating or falling over.  Switch sides and repeat

**make this movement more challenging by putting a small ball under your supporting hand. This will make you less stable, and require that you engage your core and back muscles. 

C. Star kicks 

Pregnancy often affects your sense of balance. That human inside changes the center of gravity and throws off our usual gait. Star kicks can help recoup balance and also leg and butt strength, which can make all sit-to-stand movements easier throughout the day easier.

  1. Stand on one foot with your hands on your hips.
  2. Reach the opposite foot as far as possible in front of you lightly touching the ground with your heel, then come back to the starting position. Make sure to keep your balancing foot flat on the ground.
  3. Repeat the heel reach to 8 different points, moving about 15* each time until you have placed the foot completely behind the balancing leg. If you fall over don’t worry, just come back to the starting position and pick up where you left off.

D. Bear Crawl 

Talk about a full-body movement! The bear crawl uses muscles throughout the entire body including the shoulders, chest, back, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and core. Although this exercise might look easy, properly coordinating your upper and lower body while keeping your core maintained, is sure to get you sweating.

  1. Start on all fours making sure your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. 
  2. Lift your knees so they’re at a 90-degree angle and hovering an inch off the ground. Keep your back flat. Your legs should stay hip-width apart and your arms shoulder-width apart.
  3. Move one hand and the opposite foot forward about an equal distance, while keeping your body low to the ground. Make sure not to raise your hips. 
  4. Switch sides by moving the opposite hand and foot. Again make sure to keep your back level. 
  5. Repeat alternating sides for 30 total reps. Break up the reps as needed to make sure the quality of movement stays high 

E. Dead Bug 

One of the best core moments you can do. This is great for moms experiencing separated abdominals. Just make sure you do not witness any ridge or bulge popping out of your belly while performing this movement (often referred to as coning). If you do, scale back the range of motion or maybe wait another week or two to start. 

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended straight over your chest so they form a 90* angle with your body. Raise your feet off the ground so your knees form a 90*  angle as well. This will be the starting position for each repetition. 
  2. Brace your core as if you had a belt on, maintaining contact between your lower back and the ground. You want to make sure your back stays in contact with the ground the entire time. This will ensure the proper muscles are being used. 
  3. Simultaneously extend your left arm & your right knee, reaching both limbs towards the floor.  Stop just before your arm and leg touch the ground. Move slowly and with control. Focus on your breath. You should be inhaling as you extend and exhaling as you bring your limbs together. 
  4. Perform the same movement on the opposite side extending your right arm and left leg. 
  5. Repeat alternating sides for 30 total reps. Break up the reps as needed to make sure your lower back maintains contact with the ground and your core is the main muscle being used. 

Reach out to Shannon at: [email protected] 

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