Returning to training after pregnancy will of course be very different for each and every female depending on a lot of factors.
During the pregnancy, during the delivery (natural, c-section, use of pain relief, injuries experienced), how well and fast the body recovers from the delivery, if you choose to breastfeed, the development of the baby, sleep deprivation, support by family/friends looking after the baby, previous fitness level… the list could go on for a very long time.
However the most important thing to bear in mind when returning to training after pregnancy is: not to rush it and to remember that there’s nothing to prove: Not to yourself and not to the world who is (or isn’t) watching on Social Media.
This isn’t easy in a world dominated by social media where we can see so many mums “bouncing back” after pregnancy. However, often we only get to see one side of the medal, rarely we see posts about the difficulties they might experience. So it might be tempting to rush back but…everyone is different. Do not compare!
As much as you might be itching at some point to get back to training just take your time, listen to your body, feel your body and also don’t underestimate how much pregnancy, labour and delivery might have taken out of your body.
Going for a walk and carrying your newborn will be your first kind of training. When you’ve seen a pelvic floor specialist (which I recommend everyone to see – e-mail below if you need further info) and got green light to start training.
Start easy, prioritise your pelvic floor and correct breathing and be aware of proper positioning.
Build a strong core + pelvic floor. These two belong together, so train them together. Don’t be surprised if some movements aren’t possible anymore in the beginning. You will have to build them up again. However, it’s your opportunity to work on various different techniques and come back as an athlete that moves even better than before.
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This just happened! 😁 . Almost exactly a year after I did my first postpartum strict RMU I now have them back again (this was nr 2 of 5). Other than in London were I could use rings at home to work on pulling strength I just thought last week I need to change things up and just aren’t getting there with my false grip ring pull ups 2-3 times a week. But today: booom! 💥 . However, I thought I’m going up in a perfect hollow hold, legs together and all that. Errrrr, NOT! 🙄🙈 . #crossfit #gymnastics #strict #rmu #theyreback #excitedisanunderstatement #18months #postpartum #roadback #slowlybutsurely #gettingthere #persistence . @theprogrm @foodrebelsnutrition @northernspiritcf
The strength will come back – over time. The techniques will come back – over time. The condition will come back – over time.
Be patient and persistent, value the small steps, even so little, it’s all progress.
- There is no general time frame when you should return to training – everyone is different
- Bare in mind you’ve been pregnant for 9 months – you might have to give your body those 10 months to recover.
- Before you return to training, see a pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist or similar. Someone who can check your pelvic floor and also teach you how to use and train it – in your daily life and especially when you exercise.
- Remember peeing yourself when you laugh or during DUs, Boxjumps, running or heavy lifts is NOT normal and NOTHING to be proud of or to make fun of! It is a sign that you aren’t able to control your pelvic floor in these extreme situations. Return to 3.
- Enjoy the journey of returning back to training; appreciate the progress even so little.
- Enjoy being a mum. Enjoy time with your little one.
Here are a few for the pelvic floor exercises to start with if your body feels ready – and after seeing a pelvic floor specialist who can give you some guidance:
- Diaphragm breathing: 5×10 breaths, feeling how your diaphragm as well as your pelvic floor are moving.
- Slow exercises: 5-10 repetitions of lifting//contracting your pelvic floor over 5-10 second with a build up of 2 seconds and a relaxing of 2 seconds. The sets could looks like so: 2 sec contracting – 5 sec hold – 2 sec relaxing – 5 sec rest
- Fast exercises: 5-10 repetitions of fast contracting and fast relaxing
- Sub-maximal exercises: 3 repetitions of 15 seconds or longer sub-maximal holds
- A useful app for doing the exercises is “Squeezy”. It allows to schedule reminders for doing the exercises and the three exercises can be set individually depending on the level and experience of the one using it
If you are interested in more specific information or finding a coach who understands how to train around the post partum period please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Gwen Sona, Progrm Coach.