Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Strength Training for New Moms

Why do I need to strength train?

The life of a parent...

Does a typical day for you include any of the following?
- Carrying a baby who gets heavier each day
- Hunching over to feed baby
- Doing up a multitude of snaps
- Bending over to change diapers
- Carrying a car seat 
- Feeding baby whilst typing an email and eating breakfast
- Chasing a mobile baby or tot

Typical New Parent Complaints
- Sore neck, back and shoulders
- Tight pectoral muscles
- Tender wrists
- Fatigued biceps and forearms
- Low Energy

Strength Training to the Rescue
We can prevent and correct the above by maintaining a strong & flexible body and by listening to our bodies.  A safe & effective postnatal strength training program focuses on muscular endurance: 3 days/week, 1-2 sets, 10-15 repetitions.  If strength training is totally new for you, consider joining a postnatal fitness class or working with a certified personal trainer with further postnatal fitness certifications.

Some Tips on Strength Training Safely & Effectively Postpartum
1. Before beginning or continuing any exercise program, it’s important to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider.  You’ll also want to read, fill out and sign a Par-Q (available at 

2. Drink enough water BEFORE, DURING and AFTER exercising.  Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  Breastfeeding women need to be especially diligent about not becoming dehydrated as it can effect milk supply and cause fatigue.

3. Choose exercises that you enjoy and that are realistic as a new parent.  Consider a routine that involves baby and a location that is baby friendly.

4. Warm up for 7-10 minutes before beginning your strength training routine.

5. Aim for the following FITT Principle:
Frequency: 2-3 days/week (48 hours+ between sessions)
Intensity: moderate
Time: 2-3 sets of 10-15 quality reps (muscular endurance)
Type: Free weights, strength machines, tubing, body ball etc

6. Do all strength-training exercises slowly and with control.  Do not lock your joints or swing your limbs.

7. Have a neutral spine with a stable core.

8. Breath!  (Breathe out on exertion)

9. Cool down for 5 – 10 minutes after your strength training routine

10. After you cool down, stretch all major muscles used for 30+ 
seconds each.

Areas to Strengthen
Upper/Mid Back – postural correction
Shoulders  - overuse injury prevention
Biceps – babies are heavy ☺
Triceps – to balance those strong biceps
Core – postural correction
Pelvic Floor – prevent incontinence
Thighs – functional strength for parenthood & beyond
Gluts  - postural correction

Areas to Stretch
Chest – postural correction
Back – tension relief and postural correction
Hamstrings – postural correction
Hips & Gluts – postural correction and improved sleep comfort
Calves – new moms walk a lot 

Ready to try a Fit 4 Two class?  Contact your local Fit 4 Two Instructor for a pass to try a FREE class.

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