You had a baby a few weeks ago now, or maybe a couple of months, and you feel ready to do something for yourself (yass!!)
Considering that you are coming from your off-season (AKA pregnancy) you must take it easy. During pregnancy, our posture changes and that continues to happen after giving birth and, before you know it, you are assuming the “Mum Posture”.
The Mum Posture: Forward head, bum tucked under and rounded shoulders are three of the most common signs, which results in:
- Weak glutes
- Tight chest muscles
- Weak back muscles
To help you improve your posture and function, I’m going to give you 3 of the best exercises for new mums (this is when we raise our cup of coffee…!)
A well-performed, good old squat is the most functional movement you can do! When done correctly, you improve your entire lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes) and back and core.
How to perform a squat:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and straight back.
- Start lowering yourself by hinging at the hips and bending the knees while keeping them behind your toes. Feet flat on the ground at all times.
- Start ascending, driving through your heels.
Correct breathing and pelvic floor:
- Inhale on your way down as you relax your pelvic floor.
- Check for pelvic floor relaxation and contraction at the bottom of your squat.
- Exhale on your way up as you switch through your pelvic floor.
Rowing is excellent for your back muscles after all those hours feeding, holding, and rocking your baby! The row is a super versatile exercise and can be done in many positions, such as standing, seated, and bent over.
Today we are doing seated rows to relax a bit after the squats (you are welcome).
How to perform a seated row:
- Sit on the floor with your back tall and chest up, legs extended, or with a mini flexion at the knees and your toes pointing up towards the ceiling.
- Pass a resistance band behind your toes and hold it with both hands.
- Pull the elastic towards your ribs while you maintain shoulders back and down away from your ears and elbows close to your body. Slowly and with control, extend your arms at the front.
- Inhale when you pull the elastic.
- Exhale when you extend your arms.
Tip: Make sure you are not pushing your pelvic floor out at the most challenging part of the row (when you do the pulling) and keep it relaxed when you let go of the elastic.
3. Chest stretch
We follow the principle of strengthening what’s weak and stretching what’s tight. Our chest muscles tend to get tight, so here’s a good stretch for you to do at any time.
- Find a door frame and place one palm nice and low on it and turn to look away from it. Keep your shoulder down.
- Face the frame again, take your palm at the shoulder level and look away from the frame one more time.
- Go back to your initial position facing the frame and now take your palm nice and high while maintaining your shoulder away from your ear and turn away from the frame to stretch the last portion of your chest muscles.
- Swap to the other side
Tip: when stretching, always stay in each stretch for at least 30 seconds to allow the muscle fibres to relax.
I hope you enjoy this must-do for new mums and make sure you visit your local Women’s Health Physio and ask for a postnatal assessment.
Remember that to have a fully functioning body, you must rebuild from the inside out.
Meli runs Phoenix for Mums in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram.
If you are a new mum returning to exercise and are not sure where to start check out our FREE Safe Return to Exercise for New Mums program to learn all you need to know.