Week Six: Postpartum Fitness Series
Welcome to Week Six of Pregnancy & Newborn’s 6-Week Postpartum Fitness Series. Here are our goals for the week:
- Work out six days this week for at least 30 to 45 minutes at a time. Go through this week’s workout one to four times then add a round or two of any of the previous weeks’ workouts. Try to switch it up to a different one every day.
- Strengthen your core, improve your posture, and tighten the backs of your arms and booty with full body moves and small plyometrics for those who are ready (and modifications for those who aren’t!).
- Give this week your all so you’re left wanting more!
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, use the hashtag #PNMag6Weeks to be entered for a chance to win the Knocked Up Fitness Online After Baby Fitness Program. 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.
EXERCISE 1: Narrow squats with rotation
- Stand with your legs together (and keep them together throughout the exercise). Squeeze your butt as you lower down into a squat while rotating your torso to your right, bringing your left elbow toward your right thigh. Feel the rotation as your bring your left ribcage toward your right hip.
- Exhale as slowly raise up out of your squat, scooping your belly in to help bring your up. This is a great way put the focus on yours abs too!
- Inhale as lower back into a squat, keeping your legs together, then rotating toward your left side to complete the exercise on the opposite side. Be sure every time you do this workout to switch up the side you start on.
[tip] This exercise can be practiced in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, but for many, baby bumps will be too big to complete it in the third trimester.
EXERCISE 2: Lunge jumps
10 on each leg
- Step into a lunge with your left leg and right arm forward, and your right leg and left arm back.
- Exhale as you use your legs (and glutes!) to power you up into a jump, bringing your right knee up and forward. Even if your front toe barely leaves the ground, it still counts.
- Land softly back into your lunge, with your left leg still forward and right leg back.
- Repeat for 10 reps and then switch legs.
Modification: Lunge jumps: Omit the jumping motion and keep your front leg grounded, just doing a lunge. Complete 15-20 reps on each side if you’re not jumping.
EXERCISE 3: Plank slides
[tip] Start with the modified plank and master it before progressing into the full plank. Hold your plank by keeping your knees on the ground for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Begin by lying on your mat. Go into a full plank on your elbows and toes. Begin by holding in place, making sure to draw your shoulders down away from your ears, using your middle back to help hold you steady, and slightly tucking your hips so you are engaging your deep abs (and avoiding strain on your back). If you can’t keep from sinking in your lower back, stick with a modified plank until you’ve built up your strength.
- Exhale as you press your heels backward.
- Inhale as your press your body forward. Feel the motion engage your abs. Think about doing a gentle Kegel and scooping your lower belly in and up while trying to feel a strong connection through your belly button. Do the best you can to focus on that deep core connection.
[tip] This exercise can be practiced during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Switch to a modified plank if you feel stress in lower back.
EXERCISE 4: Twist jumps
Modification: Complete another set of narrow squats with rotation to avoid jumping.
- Keep your legs connected throughout the entire exercise. Start in a squat to your left and torso rotated to your right (this starts similar to narrow squats with rotation, above).
- Use your legs and core power to come up into a small jump, switching your legs toward the opposite direction midway through so you land with your legs to your right and torso facing left.
- Go into a squat on your right side then jump up and rotate your legs (keeping them together still) to your left.
EXERCISE 5: Single leg dips *
10-20 reps each leg
Modification: Keep both feet on the ground.
- Start with your right foot flat on your mat, arms extended straight and butt lifted. Your torso and left leg should be close to parallel to the floor. Hold and squeeze your triceps while drawing your shoulders down and away from your ears.
- Inhale as you lower down with your butt and bend your elbows slowly.
- Exhale as your press your body back up by lifting your backside and extending your arms to straight. Repeat until you’ve completed 10 to 20 reps on the first leg, then switch to the opposite leg.
- Roll your wrists in circles in between switching sides and after to release any tension in them.
[tip] This exercise can be completed during pregnancy, but modified as needed, especially the third trimester when many need extra support.
Complete exercises 1-5 another one to three times then move onto the stretches. Remember: You can also revisit stretches from previous weeks’ workouts.
EXERCISE 6: Standing hip stretch *
Hold for 10-30 seconds each side
- Standing on your left leg, bend your right leg across then go down into a squat, sticking your butt out and arching your back. You should feel a great stretch in your right hip and low back. Hold 10-30 seconds then switch sides.
[tip] Need extra support? Hold on to a chair or countertop.
EXERCISE 7: Quad stretch standing *
Hold for 10-30 seconds on each side
- Standing on your right leg with your knee slightly bent (to help your balance), grab your left leg with your left hand and pull it. You should feel a great stretch on the front of your left thigh. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds then switch sides.
[tip] If you need extra support for balance, hold onto a solid surface with your right arm when stretching your left thigh and vice versa.
* Exercise is also appropriate for pregnancy.