This is the final post in my postpartum exercise series on transitioning from baby back to the gym. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, so women will move from step to step at different times. While some women may be able to transition very quickly from mobility/activations to body-weight movements and back to weightlifting, other women will spend a week or more at each stage. This natural variation is extremely important to keep in mind for both prenatal and postpartum exercise. Everyone is different and without being able to interact with you one-on-one I can only give general advice. But as always, listen to your body first and foremost!!!
The final stage in the transition from baby back to a regular exercise routine is adding or adding back weightlifting movements. For seasoned CrossFitters, this is when you can resume back squats, snatches, cleans etc. but at a light weight. Be realistic and don’t expect to be able to lift your pre-pregnancy weights or percentages right away. It will take time to build back that strength, but rest assured, it WILL return!! As during your pregnancy, focus on form and technique and go up in weight only if these are solid.
For women who are just starting CrossFit after having a baby or women who are new to lifting weights but are looking to incorporate some weights into their exercise routine (which I recommend for every woman!) consider starting with dumbbells or kettlebells. Especially for women who have to squeeze in workouts at home while the baby naps, a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell is a pretty small investment and both are very versatile. Use dumbbells to add weight to squats, use them for presses, deadlifts, snatches….and many more exercises!!! Kettlebells are great for swings, snatches, goblet squats, deadlifts…just like dumbbells this single piece of equipment is very versatile and I highly recommend buying at least one of these pieces of equipment for your home gym. I train women in their homes and we can do so much with just a pair of dumbbells and a jump rope!!
The benefits of weightlifting for women are numerous and could be a whole post be itself so I won’t delve into that too much now…but adding in some weightlifting movements will help you get back into shape more quickly. And, more importantly, adding weights to your postpartum workouts will help you build strength which is vital for being able to lift and carry your baby around all day long not to mention the car seat, diaper bag, stroller etc. So don’t be afraid of weights!!! Start small with a pair of dumbbells and go from there! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions and I’d be happy to discuss with you!