Postpartum Strength Workout

This basic total body postpartum workout targets all the muscles in the body, including the hips, glutes, thighs, chest, back, shoulders, arms and abs. This workout is short and simple -- a great way for new moms to get back with strength training. 

Precautions for the Postpartum Strength Workout

  • Get a doctor's clearance before starting any type of exercise program.  For normal births with no complications, your doctor will usually clear you for exercise in 4-6 weeks after giving birth.
  • If you have diastasis, you may want to avoid the ab exercises.

Equipment Needed

Various weighted dumbbells, an exercise ball, a resistance band and a mat.

How To Do the Postpartum Strength Workout

  • Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio (walking in place, etc.)
  • For each exercise, perform 1-2 sets of 16 repetitions (or as directed).  Some exercises are shown with no weight, but feel free to hold weights for added intensity.

For more challenge, try Total Body Strength 3 which contains more difficult exercises.

1
Chair Squats

Paige Waehner

Stand in front of a chair with feet about hip-distance apart.  Keeping your abs engaged, bend your knees and lower your butt towards the chair.  Stop just above the chair or, for more intensity, lower all the way down until your butt just touches the chair.  Push back up and repeat.  Hold weights for added intensity, if desired.

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2
Assisted Lunges

Paige Waehner

Using a chair or rail for balance, stand in split stance with feet about 3 feet apart . Keeping your torso straight, bend your knees and lower body toward the floor without allowing the front knee to bend over the toe (you should see the tip of your shoe). Push through the heel to come back up. Repeat for 12-16 reps, then switch sides.        

3
Hip Lifts

Hip Lift on the Ball
Paige Waehner

Lie down and place the heels on the ball with straight legs.  Squeeze the glutes and lift the hips up until the body is in a straight line.  Lower back down and repeat for 16 reps.

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4
Modified Pushups

Paige Waehner

Get into pushup position with your hands a bit wider than your shoulders, and your knees on the floor. Keep your back flat. Lower into a pushup until the elbows are at 90-degree angles. Push back up and repeat for 10-16 reps.

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5
Seated Row with Bands

Paige Waehner

Wrap the resistance band around a sturdy object in front of you and sit holding the handles with arms straight out, palms face each other.  Contract the back to pull the elbows in towards the torso in a rowing motion.  Return to start and repeat for 16 reps.

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6
Bent-Arm Lateral Raises

Paige Waehner

Sit on a ball or chair holding weights in each hand, elbows bent at 90 degrees.  Keep the elbows bent and lift the arms out to the sides to shoulder level. Lower and repeat for 16 reps. 

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7
Bicep Curls

Paige Waehner

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding medium-light dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms out.  Bend your elbows and curl weights towards the shoulders.  Lower and repeat for 16 reps.

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8
Tricep Extensions

Paige Waehner

Lie on the floor and hold weights straight up over the chest, palms facing in. Bend the elbows and lower the weights until they're next to the ears. Straighten and repeat for 16 reps.

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9
Crunches on the Ball

Paige Waehner

Lie down with the ball under the mid-upper back, keeping hands crossed or behind the head. Contract your abs to lift shoulders off the ball. Lower and repeat for 16 reps.          

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10
Back Extensions

Paige Waehner

Lie down on a mat and place hands behind the head or on the floor.  Contract the lower back and lift the chest off the floor.  Lower and repeat for 16 reps.       

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