Postpartum Exercise Routine

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Day One of the Postpartum Exercise Routine

Young mother preparing to exercise after baby
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These four days of postpartum exercises were originally designed by Olympic Gymnast and Personal Trainer, Mihai Bagiu, AFAA, for his postpartum wife. He has given us permission to post his workouts here. I hope you enjoy them as you return to your prepregnancy shape. You should be sure that you have clearance from your doctor or midwife before beginning any postpartum exercise routine.

Remember to drink water to thirst and be sure to have healthy snacks.

Day One

You can do this routine with two-pound ankle weights or without.

  1. Leg Extensions 2 sets of 40
    Lay on your back, bend legs and extend them to vertical. You should feel this in your quad/front of thigh/around your knee.
  2. Leg Curl 2 sets of 40
    Stand next to a wall (on a phone book for a bit of height. Hold the wall, but don't lean). Bend leg to your butt and extend it all the way, with foot flexed. You should feel this burn the hamstring/back of thigh, butt.
  3. Adductors 2 sets of 40
    Lay on back, legs extended vertically and together. Open legs to straddle and close. (you don't have to straddle wide, just as much as you can and so that you feel it working your inner thigh muscles)
  4. Abductors 2 sets of 20
    Lay on side, both legs bent slightly. Lift top leg slightly above horizontal and back down. Make sure the foot of the leg you are lifting is straight, vs. turned out or in. You should feel this on the outside of your thigh.
  5. Calves 2 sets of 40
    Stand with feet together (you can hold the wall if you like) and go to tip toe (or as high as you can). Make sure when you raise your heels that your ankles stay in line (don't let ankles collapse in or out). You should feel this in your calves.
  6. Toe Taps 2 sets of 50
    Standing, just tap one foot at a time, lifting toes. You can do these quick. You should feel this in your shin.
  7. Lunges 2 sets of 20
    Standing, step back with each leg, once at a time. Make sure you don't turn out the foot of the leg that is in front and make sure you touch the knee to the floor of the leg you step behind. Alternate each leg. Left, right, so on. You'll feel this in your thighs.
  8. Crunches 50
    Lay on back, bend knees, arms on your stomach. Lift your head and shoulders enough to clear the floor. Try not to use your neck/head to help you lift. You'll feel it burn those muscles!

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Day Two of the Postpartum Exercise Routine

Woman exercising with hand weights
Photo © Blend Images/Getty Images

This is a quick and easy day!

  1. Crunches 2 sets of 20
    Lay on back, bend knees, arms on your stomach. Lift your head and shoulders enough to clear the floor. Try not to use your neck/head to help you lift (it is very hard! Especially since my stomach is so soft!). You'll feel it burn those muscles!
  2. Crunches w/leg lift 2 sets of 20
    Get in position for crunch, but extend your legs so that your legs are a little more than slightly bent. As you crunch, lift one leg, alternating one leg per crunch. You'll feel this in your lower abdomen as well as near ribs.
  3. Reverse crunches 2 sets of 15
    Lay on back in crunch position, lift your legs off the floor (so you're tucked). The crunch action is to lift your knees toward chest, lifting butt off the floor. You'll feel it in your lower abdomen.
  4. Crunches with torso action 2 sets of 10
    A)Crunch position, cross right leg over left, leg turned out. Left hand behind your head. Now, crunch to turn and lift your torso so left arm reaches to right knee and back down.

    B)Keep left arm behind head. Cross left leg over right. Now lift torso to the outside and crunch toward left knee. a+b = 1 set, repeat on the opposite side.

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Day Three of the Postpartum Exercise Routine

A young woman exercises her arms
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Today is arms. You can use three-pound weights or lift something else.

  1. Bicep curls 2 sets of 40
    From arms at side fully extended, lift hands so elbow is fully bent (palms up on the hand, wrists straight) (sit or stand) You'll feel this in your bicep and perhaps your wrists.
  2. Tricep extensions 2 sets of 25
    One arm at a time. Lean on couch so that your hips are 90 angle, back straight, arm to your side so that your arm is horizontal. Keeping your elbow to your side, bend your elbow to vertical and back up (sort of a pumping action) You'll feel this on the back of your arm.
  3. Hammer curls 2 sets of 20
    Stand, arms to side, curl arms (bend) to 90-degree angle, keep wrists straight (palms in), elbows to side. Do both arms at same time. (You'll feel this again in bicep)
  4. Overhead tricep extension 2 sets of 20
    Arms overhead, hands together. Bend elbows so hands go behind head and extend to vertical. You'll feel it behind your arms again.
  5. Lateral, front, rear deltoid lifts 1 set of 20 (each exercise)
    A) arms to side lift straight to horizontal to your side.

    B)lift one arm at a time from side to horizontal in front of you.

    C)slightly bend legs, bend over to have arms down to start. Lift them to the side and horizontal. You'll feel this one in your back and back of arms.

  6. Shoulder presses 1 set of 20
    Bend arms so hands are by your shoulders and extend to vertical. You'll feel it on top of your shoulders.

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Day Four of the Postpartum Exercise Routine

Young mom exercising with baby
Photo © Hero Images/Getty Images

Chest and back exercises today.

  1. Push-Ups 2 sets of 10
    Get in push-up position, bend knees, arms a bit wider than should length apart and higher than shoulders (in other words don't put them even w/shoulders). Keep back straight, hips straight, go down as far as you can w/out losing the form. I felt this in my stomach as well as butt and arms.
  2. Arm "Rows" 2 sets of 20 (Can use 10lb weight)
    Lean over couch in the same position as the tricep exercise from yesterday. You are going to pump arm from straight down to bent. You'll feel it in bicep and shoulder.
  3. Incline Presses 2 sets of 20 (5lbs in each hand)
    With pillows up against couch, create an incline and lean against it with legs in front of you. From hands bent by shoulders, press up to vertical and bring hands together. You'll feel it in your shoulder.
  4. Bent over "Rows" 2 sets of 15 (5lbs in each hand)
    Sit on couch, lean over your legs, chest resting on your legs. Hands on floor, lift arms out to sides with slightly bent elbow. You'll feel this in your back.
  5. "no name" 2 sets of 20 (5lbs)
    Lay on the floor, arms over your head, both hands holding weight. Lift arms to vertical and back down. I felt it in chest and stomach.
  6. Crunches w/leg lift 1 sets of 30
    Get in position for crunch, but extend your legs so that your legs are a little more than slightly bent. As you crunch, lift one leg, alternating one leg per crunch. You'll feel this in your lower abdomen as well as near ribs.

You may also enjoy doing yoga or walking. We also have a weight loss guide.

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