Week Five: Postpartum Fitness Series

By Published On: September 29th, 2013

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

  • Aim to work out six days this week for at least 30 minutes at a time. Add an extra 15 minutes of exercise on days that you can.
  • Ramp it up a bit with exercises that challenge your balance, engage your core, and get your heart rate up. Stick to the modifications if you’re not ready for the full exercise yet.
  • Focus on small plyometric and full body exercises to really transform your body.

W5_O2Share 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, use the hashtag #PNMag6Weeks to be entered for a chance to win a Live Well 360 Accel Bag. The more you tag, the better your odds! (We’re giving away a different prize each week—click here to see them all!)

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.

Mini-Jumping-SquatsEXERCISE 1: Mini jumping squats with rotation
10-20 reps

  1. Stand with your feet together under your body. Get started with a little jump up.
  2. Jump out into a deep squat and rotate your torso toward your right leg, as if you were doing a small oblique crunch with your torso. Think left side of your ribcage to your right hip.
  3. Using your butt to help power you, jump and land center with your legs under you. Think soft landing.
  4. Jump back up, landing in a deep squat, and rotate your torso toward your left side to complete the exercise on the opposite side.

Not ready to do any jumping? See the modification below.
Modification: Mini squats with rotation (no jumps)
20-30 sets

  1. Standing in a wide deep squat, rotate your torso toward your right leg.
  2. Instead of jumping, just stand up straight—your feet shouldn’t move at all during the entire exercise.
  3. Return to a deep squat while rotating your torso toward your left side.
  4. Feel like you are scooping your belly in and up as you stand back up.

Lunge-Side-to-SideEXERCISE 2: Lunge side to side
10-20 reps

  1. Stand tall with feet wider than shoulder width apart. Your feet and legs should be parallel.
  2. Keep your feet stationary while you shift your weight to your right leg and butt, moving into a side lunge. Find a range where you can really feel your outer hip and butt working. Complete five small, very slow pulses.
  3. Press with your right leg back to your original standing position.
  4. Shift your weight to your left side with your weight in your heel and butt. Keep your left knee aligned behind your left toes. Using your butt and outer hip, complete five small, very slow pulses.

[good to know] This exercise can is safe for early pregnancy but should not be practiced during in the third trimester because of too much stress on the pubic area.
Combo-LungeEXERCISE 3: Combo lunge butt kick
10-20 reps

  1. Start in a lunge position with your right leg forward and left leg back.
  2. Use your right leg to push your body into a standing position.
  3. Kick your right leg back, squeezing your butt and hinging your body forward. Try to get your body parallel to the ground.
  4. Lunge through back to your starting position with your right leg forward. Repeat for 10-20 reps then switch sides.

Side-Arm-ReachEXERCISE 4: Side arm reaches *
2- to 4-pound dumbbells, 20 reps

  1. Stand tall and keep a soft bend in your knees. Draw  your shoulders draw down and away from your ears, bend your elbows into your side, and face your palms upward.
  2. Feel as if you are reaching your arms out then up in one smooth slow motion.
  3. Pull with your middle back to draw your elbows back to your side.
  4. For an extra challenge after 20 reps, add 10-20 pulses at your end range when your arms are straight.

Straight-Arm-PulsesEXERCISE 5: Straight arm pulses *
20-30 reps

  1. Standing in a slightly bent knee squat, sticking your hips back, shoulders down, and chest out.
  2. Slowly pulse your arms together behind your back, engaging your middle back, shoulders and triceps.
  3. For an added challenge, reach your arms up to shoulder height, adding full range of motion after you pulse for 10 more reps.

Repeat exercises 1-5 another one to three times before moving onto the stretch below. You can add more stretches from previous weeks as well.
EXERCISE 6: Roll down stretch
2-5 reps

  1. Stand tall, reaching your arms toward the sky while taking in a deep breath.
  2. Hinge forward, arching your back, softening your knees, and reaching your arms behind you to stretch your chest. Hinge forward as far as you can without rounding your back. Enjoy a low back and hamstring stretch.
  3. Round your spine forward, letting your head and neck relax. Reach as far to your toes as you can, take a deep breath, and then slowly roll up one vertebra at a time. Engage your abs and ensure your head is last to come up.

* Exercise is also appropriate for pregnancy.