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Why All New Moms Should Be Lifting Heavy

by | Nov 22, 2017

Why all new moms should be lifting heavy…

or at least working towards doing so.

Throughout pregnancy, we are starting to shift our way of thinking when it comes to working out.  If you think of traditional thinking, pregnant women were advised to rest and not to lift heavy things.  This is probably the worst advice any mom to be could have received, because after that baby comes, there is going to be a whole lot of heavy lifting! Babies, car seats, strollers into and out of trunks, laundry baskets, babies again!

Childbirth is literally like running a marathon, except way longer and way more painful.  Imagine wanting to run a marathon and the way you trained was to rest for 9 months leading up to the race? You would collapse before reaching the 5km mark!

Pregnancy is a time to maintain strength, and start to prepare your body for the strength, endurance and mobility that will be necessary to get through childbirth and then holding 6-10 pounds of baby constantly, as that baby grows heavier by the day.

So during pregnancy there are some things you will definitely want to do, and some things you will want to avoid.  

What do avoid:

  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Impact
  • Excessive twisting
  • Lying on your back (for extended periods of time)

What to incorporate:

  • Strength work (slow and controlled – no heavy straining)
  • Balance work (relaxin will start to throw off your balance)
  • Endurance work (low impact muscular endurance)
  • Postural work (getting the back muscles strong)

What about post-birth?

After the baby comes, you will want to rest for 6 weeks before getting back into training, however, as soon as the initial pain subsides, you can start doing some deep core breathing and walking to start to rehabilitate your core and to start to get your blood moving.  

After 6 weeks post birth, once you have been cleared to exercise, and have seen a pelvic floor physiotherapist, you need to start building that strength and endurance back up!

I always laugh when I hear that a new mom has been advised not to lift heavy, as they lug their 30lb carseat around, or bounce a baby in their arms for hours.  You see, as a new mom, you’re already lifting heavy!  Adding strength and conditioning into your routine will make you stronger, and will help you to be able to do these tasks without feeling the load in your joints (back, pelvis, knees etc).

The trick is, to learn proper lifting techniques with someone who understands the postpartum body, and how to help you get stronger without causing more pain and injury than pregnancy has already provided.

That’s where I come in!

Many programs for new moms are yoga and pilates based, which have amazing benefits, but there is also a need for strength and conditioning as well to ensure variety in movement, alignment, stability, and most importantly, balanced strength! We need to be prioritizing back body strength, because as a new mom, your postures will start to tighten your front body and weaken your back body.  We have to balance that out with pulling movements such as deadlifts, row variations, and pull-up preparation.  On top of that, we need to do this in conjunction with deep core awareness so that we don’t worsen any abdominal separation, prolapse, incontinence, back pain, or pelvic pain that may be lingering since pregnancy and/or childbirth.

Lucky for you Toronto mamas, I am now the new program director of Fuel Moms, Small Group Personal Training for New Moms!  Our classes focus on strength and conditioning that is all appropriate for the postpartum body, taking all potential postpartum conditions into consideration.  We offer classes Monday through Friday in Roncesvalles and East Toronto.  Read more about Fuel Moms here.

Our fitness goals/priorities as a new mom should be:

  1. Rehabilitation of injury or pain caused by pregnancy and childbirth
  2. Strength balancing
  3. Mom-specific training

What is “mom-specific training”?  

There are specific movements you’ll be repeating over and over again as a new mom, and we can ensure we are moving in the best way possible by training for these movements.  

Check out these mom specific movements that you can start doing now!

What type of exercise have you started doing throughout your pregnancy and/or postpartum recovery?  Let me know in the comments below!

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