Post Partum Exercise: Read This Before You Return to That Fitness Boot Camp or High Impact Workout

CPR Returning to Exercise Postpartum feature image

Returning to Normal Exercise Right Away can be Harmful

The Center for Physical Rehabilitation has Tips for a Healthy Return-to-Workout Routine

Are you pregnant or holding your sweet newborn? Before you start back on your work-out or exercise routine, let’s talk.

At the 6 week postpartum mark, many women are ready to return to running, boot camps, and other high-impact routines.

I just learned that impact exercise after giving birth is one of the least helpful things you can do to get back to “you.”

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What’s Appropriate Exercise at 6 weeks postpartum?

Are you planning on running or other impact routines at the 6 week mark? The Women’s Health team at Center for Physical Rehabilitation (CPR) in Grand Rapids says – Wait!

There are some foundational steps that are key to preventing injury and sustaining physical health longevity after having a baby.

I Shouldn’t Start my Workout Plan at 6 Weeks Postpartum??

There’s an unspoken pressure for us mommas to quickly “get back to me” after having a baby.

If this is you, let’s take a deep breath and remember we’re SUPER HEROS for growing a human! You do not have to immediately push your body back into its pre-pregnancy shape.


The next steps we can take to feel like “me” again are simple building blocks for a wonderful foundation of healthy exercise in our lives as a whole.

Before we know it, we’ll be back to high-impact exercise in no time – and in better shape not to sustain an injury.

Bonus: it’s so easy!

Here’s what our 0-6 and 6-14 weeks postpartum exercise routines should look like:

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0-6 weeks postpartum exercises

Rest and recovery: incorporating optimal positions and re-educating your muscles – 20 percent effort.

Before saying “this is way too easy”, and rushing off to impact workouts because these exercises seem too boring, we have to remember that overdoing it during the 0-6 week period could cause injury.

When we think of getting back to working out after babies most of us aren’t thinking about incontinence, pain during sex, and other taboo topics we usually keep hush hush. However, our exercise routines right after baby can play a huge part in either preventing or causing these types of issues.

If you’re asking yourself, what’s too much? Or, what’s not enough? Watch this video where Jess and Karen from CPR explain tips and tools for a great foundation in exercise post baby:

Through pregnancy and delivery, it’s hard to go through full range of motion, so we need to retrain our muscles. You’ll learn how in the video above.

Jess and Karen walk us through optimal positions and teach us how to focus on the canister muscles aka the big 4. Have you heard of the big 4 already? It was interesting for me that engaging and re-training the canister muscles (Diaphragm, Pelvic floor, Transversus abdominis, and Meltifidi) plays a huge role in helping us get back to the high impact exercises like running, biking, the gym, and more.

0-14 weeks postpartum routines

Be mindful of posture: PT stretches helpful to daily mindfulness of posture – 20 percent effort.

During pregnancy we tend to stand in postures that helps support the new weight we are carrying around. After baby, retraining and re-aligning our shoulders, hips, and ankles for good posture is key. This will help us support proper length and healing in our canister muscles. Watch this video for tips and stretches to help retrain our posture as well as giving some relief to our upper shoulder area:

Our posture, core, and shoulder muscles help us get back to exercising by not compromising our spine.

Gently activating and re-learning how to Kegal, Kegal, Kegal.

Want to start running again? Kegal, Kegal, Kegal! They help us re-activate the pelvic floor. This in turn helps promote urinary continence, bowel continence and more. Key: activation is important, but we don’t want to overdo it. These muscles can easily tighten up and/or get sore quickly. If you need a refresher and want to see what I think is the best explanation of the kegal ever – watch this video:

In this video Karen and Jess guide you through the importance of gentle motion and diaphragmatic breathing, kegels, and more – at 20 percent effort.

6 – 14 weeks postpartum exercises

Implement a walking program and stability exercises – 20 percent effort.

And we’re off! Kind of. The 6-14 week mark is the time to be mindful about HOW we get back into exercise because we are still at risk for injury at this point. Our workouts between these weeks should include stability exercise and walking. Check out this video where Jess and Karen walk us through what stability exercises look like and how to include them in our daily routines like feeding baby, sitting in the car, and other #momlife moments:

Is it too late to gain a Proper Exercise foundation If I’m past the 14 week mark?

It’s not too late to get on the path to recovery or proper exercise foundation.

I COULDN’T WAIT to work out after birthing both of my boys. I was counting down the days and guess what – after my first, the six week mark came and I was still being pushed around in a wheelchair at stores. #embarrassing right?

After an emergency c-section and lots of scar tissue, my body, muscles, and ligaments were still healing. I wish I had known then what I know now about the “rest is best” protocol thanks to Center for Physical Rehab. I wouldn’t have put so much guilt on myself for not running 6 miles at the 6 week point. Silly I know. If I had known, I may not have inflicted the injuries I have now from pushing myself so hard after my second child.

Thankfully, it’s ok. We still have hope! There’s so much PT can do to help. If you’re like me and you’re already so far past the 14 week mark (my kiddos are 6 and 3) and realize you could use some help in this area – don’t hesitate, call Karen at Center at Physical Rehabilitation. They specialize in PT & Woman’s health and would love to help you move forward.

Postpartum lifting, feeding, and carrying for baby can create midback tention. Here’s something you can start doing right away to work on the core muscles and alleviate tention:

Next, you’ll want to call CPR for a your free consultation.

Call CPR Today to Start Moving Forward

If you’re experiencing pain working out at any point in your postpartum journey it’s common – but IT IS NOT normal. Don’t hesitate, call one of the knowledgeable and helpful team of Physical Therapists at Center for Physical Rehabilitation located all over Grand Rapids.

Your consultation is FREE and they are looking forward to helping you move forward.

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