Week One: Postpartum Fitness Series

A six-week regimen to guide you toward a happier, healthier postbaby self.
Produced by Erica Ziel and edited by Lauren Brockman

FitSquad-500x150Welcome to Week One of Pregnancy & Newborn’s 6-Week Postpartum Fitness Series. Here are our goals for the week:

  • Work out two to four days this week for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.
  • Complete the Week One workout for at least two of those days, preferably all four.
  • Start reactivating every muscle in your body. (These exercises will do just that!)
  • Focus on which muscles you are strengthening, keeping your range of motion small at the beginning of each exercise so you can feel your muscles working.


Share your progress on Instagram (@pnmag) and support your fellow mamas on their fitness journeys. When you post a photo of your healthy exercise and eating habits, tag it #PNMag6Weeks to be entered for a chance to win that week’s prize. The more you tag, the better your odds!

Whether you follow along with the video or use the step-by-step instructions below to complete the exercises at your own pace, know you’re making progress toward your fitness goals. Ready? Then pull on your gym shoes and fill up your water bottles, mamas—it’s time to get our rears into gear!


EXERCISE 1: Wide squats with shoulder press *
2- to 5-pound dumbbells, 20 to 30 reps
Stand with legs slightly rotated out, about shoulder width apart (or slightly wider). [a] Go into as deep of a squat as you can manage, keeping your weight in your heels as you feel your butt muscles doing most of the work. Don’t be afraid to stick your backside out! [b] As you stand up, use your core to rotate to the right while doing a shoulder press with your right arm. Be sure your right leg pivots with you. [a] Come out of your rotation, squaring to center, and return to a deep squat. [c] Stand up and rotate to the left doing a shoulder press with your left arm and pivoting your left leg. [a] Return to center and repeat.


EXERCISE 2: Intense triceps *
2- to 5-pound dumbbells, 15 to 20 reps
[a] Stand with your legs together (or slightly apart) in a small bent-over squat with your booty sticking out and your eyes looking straight ahead. Reach your arms behind you, palms facing the sky. Start with a very small bend in your arms. [b] Extend your arms to a straight position and flex your triceps; hold for a good squeeze then bend slightly and repeat.

[tip] For an extra challenge, add 20 pulses after your 15 to 20 reps by pulsing your straight arms together.


EXERCISE 3: Narrow squats with rotational reach
2- to 5-pound dumbbells, 20 to 30 reps
Stand with your legs together (or slightly apart if that feels better for your back) and [a] lower down into a squat with your arms bent by your side, palms up. Keep the majority of your weight in your heels but don’t let your toes lift. Squeeze your legs and butt together and look straight ahead. [b] As you stand up out of your squat, reach with right arm up and across your body toward your left side. Focus on your core muscles doing the rotation, but keep your legs and backside engaged too. [a] Return to the starting position. [c] As you stand up out of your squat, reach your left arm up and across your body toward your right side. Feel as though you are trying to make your body taller by using your deep core muscles to get you there. [a] Return to the starting position and repeat. (To modify this for pregnancy, widen your stance and omit the rotation.)


EXERCISE 4: Standing single leg lifts *
15 to 30 reps
[a] With your left leg in front and right leg behind, stand in a small lunge and hinge slightly forward, keeping all your weight on the left (front) leg. Your right toes should only lightly tap the ground. [b] Reach your right leg out and away from you as high as you can without pulling in your back. You should feel it in your backside! Tap your toe back to the ground and repeat.

[tip] Hold on to a chair for extra support during pregnancy (or postpartum if you’re struggling to balance).

For a complete workout, repeat exercises 1-4 another one to three times then move on to the stretches. 


EXERCISE 5: Standing hip stretch
Hold each side for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat as needed. Cross one leg over the other and sit back into a seated position. Hold on to a chair for balance if needed.


EXERCISE 6: Standing quad stretch
Hold each side for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat as needed. Standing up straight, grab your right leg with your right arm while reaching your left arm in the air. Pull your belly in and up while pulling your leg back. Keep your knees together and hold on to a chair for balance if needed.

* Exercise is also appropriate for pregnancy.


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