My oldest son is 12 years old now, it seems like a lifetime ago that he was a baby and I remember being completely guilty of being one of those new mothers who wanted to get back in to shape toute suite. I was not up to speed on post-partum workouts, the information was not readily available, so I basically carried on exercising as normal after the birth. This is what my return to fitness post baby looked like: I ran, I did sit-ups and I spent way too many minutes in plank – basically all the exercises that we know are now contraindicated.
I ended up suffering from Diastatis Rectis, a condition where the abdominal wall, which comes apart during pregnancy, doesn’t close properly, leaving a gaping space in the stomach. It’s not pleasant and it can be quite uncomfortable. I would lie down looking at my tummy, seeing this awful tent shape sticking up at me.
Thankfully, I learned how to correct this and thankfully, the information that we know now is getting more widely circulated. It is possible to get back into shape after a baby, and it is possible to do this safely and effectively.
I work with many new mothers and actively incorporate the Ultimate Sandbag into their training plans. My focus is to improve;
- core functioning
- create awareness of pelvic floor functioning
- improve multi-planar functional strength
- strengthen primary core muscles and active the auxiliary ones.
- get them to experience metabolic conditioning to improve post-baby blues
Read more on Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions here.
disclaimer: this is not a medical document, it is based on my own experience and research in the study of pre/post-partum fitness, be sure and get clearance for your medical doctor prior to beginning any exercise program.
Meet Melissa. I started seeing her when her babe Adelaide was just 3 months old. We took things very carefully to begin with. Melissa came to me with lower back pain, shoulder issues, poor balance, very poor core and groin functioning and also frustrated at how her body looked. All very normal issues post baby.
I filmed some video of Melissa, with Adelaide crawling around in the background, and wanted to share with you some of the exercises we have been using to correct all of the issues and to quite frankly make her find epic strength, resilience and energy.
DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Exercises for New Mothers.
Half Kneeling Arc Press.
Why did I pick this exercise? Well it’s quite simple. Melissa suffered from lower back, shoulder and core dysfunction and pain, along with poor balance. By gradually building up the weight and size of bag, her lateral strength has improved, which in turn has improved her balance and reactive core functioning. The overhead extension of the bag, has improved her thoracic mobility and improved the shoulder impingement she had been experiencing. And finally by activating the glutes in this position, her lower back weakness has improved. The results have been phenomenal.
A favourite among the new mother because the movement allows control of the core section in a safe way, while the intensity of the exercise can be increased over time by a number of factors which include:
- length of lever – either leg or arm
- weight of bag – I start at a light core bag, making progress to a moderately weighted power bag
- placement of bag – this can vary from overhead all the way to rotation movements
- number of levers – extension starts with a heel drop, to a single leg extension eventually to a double leg extension
As you can see the DVRT system continues to be useful across all walks of life. New mothers, rehab patients, fitness enthusiasts, personal trainers, military, fire services and professional athletes. If you like what you see and are interested in learning more, then I would love for you to join me at the first Toronto DVRT Workshop on April 2nd. For all the details click here.