Postpartum: Transitioning Back Into the Gym

Heading back to the gym after having a baby can be daunting. Here's how to start.
CrossFit Mothers

The postpartum period of a new mother’s life can be emotionally and physically challenging. For one, the mother is dealing with a new and changed body that almost feels foreign to her. This is true of a vaginal birth and a cesarean birth. Second, finding the time to go to the gym or even have all the stars align properly so that the mother can make her CrossFit class is like winning the lottery. And finally, once the new mama gets to the gym or has time alone at home, how the heck should she know where to start?

As the founder of BirthFIT, I receive questions all the time regarding the postpartum phase. Every pregnancy is different, and every woman is unique. Therefore, my two golden rules are:

Listen to your body.

Your pace is the right pace.

After dealing with numerous women through coaching and as patients, I’ve come up with a general outline. My main objective is to reactivate correct motor patterns. The new mother’s body has been through a lot, and hopefully the mother has taken adequate time off. Regardless of how fit the mother was prior to pregnancy and birth, she is deconditioned now, and that is okay. Waking up the ideal motor and nerve-sequencing patterns is the main objective. Spending time establishing correct biomechanics will save you from discomfort later on, accelerate your training and set you up for success when you have your next child.

My next three blog posts will discuss the general outline that I use with clients. I have broken the postpartum period down into three phases. It is important to master a majority of each phase prior to progressing to the next phase. Those women who have jumped right into phase three tend to experience more pain, discomfort and nagging injuries within the first 24 months of being a new mother.

The outline initially focuses on the core, posterior chain and shoulders. Then we progress to phase two by developing functional movements that will translate into dynamic movements and those movements with weight. There are definitely exercises that work better for some people and not others. This is where my experience, education and understanding of the client come into play. Take this outline and find what works best for you.