Skip to content
Home » Blog » The most important exercises to do after giving birth that you probably are not doing

The most important exercises to do after giving birth that you probably are not doing

Jump to the exercises

After giving birth it may be tempting to try and jump back into your old workout routine and go big on your ab exercises but this can have the opposite result to what you are wanting.

The first thing you need to focus on is your core – a strong core plays a crucial role in supporting your body post-pregnancy, promoting good posture, and aiding everyday movement.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or someone seeking a gentle introduction to postnatal exercise, my goal is to provide you with valuable information and guidance to help you strengthen your body post-pregnancy.

The secret to doing core exercises after pregnancy is that anything can be a core exercise if you engage your core!

  1. Take a deep breath in.
  2. On the exhale make a ‘sssss’ sound and feel your core engage and do a kegel at the same time.
  3. Do this and then do any of the exercises below and you will benefit from even the most simple of exercises.

One thing you want to be looking out for is doming of the tummy. If you notice your tummy doming then stop what you are doing and make adjustments to put less pressure on your abdominals.

Now on to the exercises, this is a list of very gentle core exercises that you can start doing as soon as you feel ready to exercise after giving birth (and you have been given the go ahead to exercise by your doctor).

Incline press ups

How to

  1. Choose a stable and secure elevated platform. This could be a bench, a step, or any other platform that can support your body weight.
  2. Place your hands on the surface slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Position your body in a plank-like position with your hands on the elevated surface and arms fully extended. Engage your core muscles to keep your body in a straight line.
  4. Lower your chest until it almost touches the elevated surface, then push through your hands to return to the starting position.

Remember!

Engage your core muscles to support your lower back. If you feel your lower back arching, stop the exercise and start again. If it happens again find a higher platform to put your hands on.

Want to make it harder?

The lower the platform, the harder the exercise. Start high then as the press ups feel easier, move to lower platforms.

Standing crunches

How to

  1. Place your hands lightly behind your head, with your elbows pointing outwards.
  2. Lift your right knee while simultaneously bringing your right elbow towards it, aiming to touch or come close to it.
  3. As you do this, keep your chest lifted, and avoid rounding your back.
  4. Lower your right foot back to the ground and switch to your left knee and left elbow.
  5. Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled manner to avoid jerky movements.

Why this exercise?

Pregnancy places extra strain on your abdominal muscles and back. Towards the end of pregnancy, normal crunches can be too much for your abs but standing crunches help maintain your core muscles, which can alleviate back pain and improve posture right through the third trimester.

Warrior III (each side)

How to

  1. Stand at the top of your mat with your feet together or hip width apart, shoulders relaxed with your fingers pointing to the floor and your weight evenly distributed through your feet.
  2. Shift your weight to one leg and begin to lift your other foot off the ground while keeping a slight bend in the standing leg.
  3. Hinge at your hips, lowering your chest forward and lifting the back leg straight behind you. Your body should ideally be in a T-shape.
  4. Reach your arms forward in line with your ears, or keep them alongside your body for balance and keep your hips parallel to the ground.
  5. Breathe steadily while holding Warrior III, then return to the starting position and switch sides.

Why this exercise?

Warrior III helps improve stability and balance.

Remember!

Listen to your body, on some days you will feel like you can fully lift your leg all the way but on others you will not be able to push yourself so much and that is ok.

Cat cow

How to

  1. Get into a box position with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Inhale, move through each vertebra, starting from your neck and moving down to your tailbone. arching your back into a Cow pose.
  3. Exhale, tilt your pelvis and let the movement ripple through each vertebra moving up to your neck, creating a smooth, flowing motion into a Cat pose.

Why this exercise?

Cat-Cow helps in stretching and strengthening the muscles around the spine, potentially easing back pain.

Remember!

Imagine someone walking up and down your back with their fingers helping guide each vertebra at a time, or better still ask your partner or friend to physically do it.

Pelvic tilt

How to

  1. Start in a box on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Keep your back straight and your neck in line with your spine.
  3. Engage your core and imagine you are making a ‘ssss’ sound.
  4. Slowly tilt your pelvis forward, arching your back slightly while dropping your belly towards the floor. This is the anterior pelvic tilt.
  5. Tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction, rounding your back and tucking your pelvis under. This is the posterior pelvic tilt.
  6. Move between the anterior and posterior tilts in a controlled manner. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
Pregnant women doing pelvic tilts in sunny garden

Why this exercise?

They help strengthen your core which is the first thing to strengthen after giving birth.

Remember!

This is a very small movement but it is still super important.

Wall sits

How to

  1. Stand with your back against the wall, feet hip-width apart, and about 1-2 feet away from the wall. Your feet should be slightly in front of your knees.
  2. Slowly slide your back down the wall while bending your knees. Aim for your thighs to be parallel to the floor, and your knees should be directly above your ankles.
  3. Push through your heels and use your leg muscles to return to a standing position.
Pregnant lady doing Wall sits to keep fit during pregnancy

Why this exercise?

Wall sits help strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles as well as the core muscles.

Remember!

Maintain a neutral spine and engage your core muscles to support your lower back.

Want to make it harder?

You can enhance this exercise by incorporating kegels at the same time.

Fire hydrants (alternate sides)

How to

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Gently engage your core muscles to support your back and stabilize your spine.
  3. Keeping your knee bent, lift one knee off the floor aiming for a 90-degree angle.
  4. Hold the lifted position for a second or two. Lower your knee back down to the starting position.

Why this exercise?

Fire hydrants are effective for activating and strengthening the gluteal muscles, including the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These muscles are crucial for hip stability and overall lower body strength.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the best core exercises that you need to make time for after giving birth.

Related articles

Postnatal exercise and nutrition rules – 2024
I did not expect to look like THIS a week after my c-section. Here is what I did to fix it.
Important pelvic floor exercises for after pregnancy – 2024
Quotes for new mamas – 2024