“I want to be fit enough to keep up with my kids.”
When I hear this comment from my mum clients, who are returning to exercise, the first thing I say is “Absolutely! And to get there I like mums to start getting strong again from the inside out”. To do this, I often suggest we incorporate a level of functional training of upper and lower body exercises to their workouts (Once a mum has a level of pelvic floor and TA control that is).
Keeping up with kids requires:
- Cardiovascular endurance – to chase toddlers down the street and the endless cleaning.
- Muscular strength – to carry that jumbo box of nappies from the store to the car and to take out that heavy garbage bin full of half eaten food (& all those full nappies!)
- Muscular endurance – push prams, carry babies and toddlers (sometimes at the same time!)
- Mobility – to twist, reach and catch while trying to apply a nappy, put on clothes, reach that pacifier or toy thrown to a random corner the car and hand out snacks all day!
How can functional training help?
The process of pregnancy and birth takes a toll on our bodies. Functional training was originally designed for rehabilitation and maintenance – a great fit for our beyond baby bodies. By applying its methods of multi muscle group exercises, based on common movements, we can build our capacity to perform the activities of daily life and reduce the chance of injury .
What can it look like?
Functional training for mums can look like:
- Kneeling to standing – mimic getting up and down off the floor.
- Farmers walk – mimic carrying the shopping.
- Squats – mimic getting in and out of a chair (kids are so good at asking for something the instant you sit down!)
- Lunges – mimic vacuuming or lawn mowing.
During all of these exercises it’s important to maintain focus on your pelvic floor and core and train to the weakest link. As functional training uses multiple muscle groups, if you find that you lose your connection with your core or floor, step it back, reduce the intensity and if necessary return to some isolated exercises of the muscle groups to build basic level strength until you’re ready.
At Fit For 2, we love to integrate upper and lower body exercises at the same time to make our training efficient. Time is important for mums. For example squats with a bicep curl and shoulder press or lunge with an upper body row.
For the best results with functional training
- Repeat it regularly.
- Focus on quality not quantity.
- Progress or regress the movement as you need.
- Seek help and advice if unsure – your local MumSafe trainer is a great place to start.
If you are unsure about your Pelvic Floor and TA connection to help improve core connection and stability with your exercises, then we highly recommend you see a Women’s Health Physio and also have a look at some of our previous articles to familiarise yourself with these aspects prior to your appointment.