Incorporating pre and postnatal fitness into your routine can have tremendous benefits to your health from easing many of the discomforts that come with pregnancy to a faster recovery. Practicing functional movements will translate to daily life activities parents will be doing whether it’s giving birth, lifting your child, bending to clean up toys and so much more. If you’ve been looking to find out more, look no further. Fhitting Room trainer, Renee Peel, who is pre/postnatal certified and a mother herself, is discussing the benefits of working out during and after pregnancy, plus her favorite kettlebell movements for pre/postnatal fitness training.
What are the benefits of a good pre/postnatal fitness plan?
Training to gain strength throughout pregnancy will prepare the body, physically and mentally, for the demands of bringing a human into the world. Performing high-intensity intervals to mimic contraction intervals gets the body ready to work and recover most efficiently throughout labor.
Incorporating 360 breathing, pelvic floor, and core training as well as proper recovery methods, prepares the body for pushing efficiently. Another great benefit that comes from a good pre/postnatal fitness plan is a more comfortable and enjoyable pregnancy experience all-around.
For many women, working out helps with fatigue and nausea early on in pregnancy. Working out during pregnancy has also been shown to boost energy, uplift your mood, and help you sleep better at night. You can also avoid or ease lower back pains from pregnancy by training alignment, posture, and strength. All of the above helps to have a stronger recovery after birth.
What are your favorite pre/postnatal exercises and why?
Weighted Carries: These are underutilized yet offer so many benefits. There are various options such as the farmer’s carry, racked carry, and even an overhead carry. These workouts build core capacity and help train your posture and alignment at a time when your body is being pulled out from that proper posture and alignment. They are extremely functional and translate well to postpartum since you will end up carrying a little human around. This helps you train to carry the weight of the child the right way.
Rowing variations: Bent-over rows, 3-point rows, and TRX or suspension trainer rows are great for upper back strength and posture. Posture tends to worsen for most with pregnancy which often leads to back pain. These rowing variations will strengthen your back.
Squat Variations: Squatting is a birthing position and a great way to improve your lower body and core strength. Squats are a great way to improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscle, further preparing those muscles for the demands of labor. As squats help you strengthen your glutes, you are also working to prevent back in your pelvis and lower back further down the line. And of course, it never hurts to have a nice butt which can help you get back to feeling like yourself after birth.
Dead Lift Variations: Picking things up is unavoidable in life, especially as a parent, and often people injure themselves doing so because they’re doing what may be considered a simple task the wrong way. Therefore, training deadlifts is essential, especially during pregnancy. By the time you give birth and have a brand-new baby to care for, you’ll be physically ready.
Kettlebell Swings: This is my favorite kettlebell cardio because it is low-impact, efficient, and ideal for most pregnant women. Kettlebell swings are an easy exercise to execute, but they are great for targeting a number of muscle groups in your body. You’d be surprised how beneficial this workout can be for the body, making it an excellent way to prepare yourself physically and give you the mental confidence that you can handle labor.
3. Best advice on keeping pre/postnatal training interesting?
Mix things up, use different modalities, and keep workouts interesting by looking at training in relation to activities ofMix things up, use different modalities, and keep workouts interesting by looking at training in relation to activities of daily life. There are plenty of people who try to get into a workout routine but inevitably get tired of performing the same several exercises, so try some modifications and different variations to keep things fresh. Think about the activities you’re going to do in your daily life and with your baby and use a kettlebell or dumbbell to mimic those movements. It may sound silly to some of you, but it’s sure to be a great way to prepare for your new future.
4. Why are kettlebells a great piece of equipment for pre/postnatal training?
Kettlebells are functional and low impact. They get the heart rate up without putting pressure on your joints. They can also be used for strength and conditioning work. A number of muscle groups are worked when using kettlebells as a mode of exercise and the best part may just be how gentle the workout really is on your body despite the benefits. Typically, when a workout has such a long list of benefits, it can be thought to be physically demanding in an unpleasant way. That being said, this workout doesn’t demand much and still provides all the benefits.
5. How often do you suggest training?
This depends on where you were pre-pregnancy. It’s important for you to be honest and realistic with yourself when planning how you’ll approach a workout routine. It may even help to be a little brutal to make sure that you don’t overdo it when you start out. Your focus should be on building up capacity and improving and adding more gradually as you go. You can do some sort of training every day as movement usually helps rather than sitting still, but again, it’s important not to overdo it.
Ready to start training? We have a library of Pre/Postnatal classes you can do whenever, wherever works for you through our On Demand platform. Our certified FHITpros can meet your needs for a safe and efficient workout, offering modifications for any movements when you work out in person or virtually on LIVE!
Always consult with your doctor before starting any pre/postnatal fitness routine.
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