I had the pleasure of meeting with Michelle Mason of Queen City Kettlebell this past week and I can’t tell you how valuable our time was. Michelle is the general manager there and focuses on prenatal and postnatal coaching and is certified in those areas. Did you know that no matter if you’ve had a baby 3 months or 13 years ago, you’re considered postpartum? It’s such a treat learning from other fitness instructors (I teach barre3 in case you haven’t picked that up), especially ones that are trained to help women recover and train after having a baby – nothing is more overwhelming that trying to get your body back in action after give birth!
Michelle took me through some amazing exercises that are designed to regain optimal function of the core and pelvic floor. Check out her awesome tips and workout below. Want to get in touch with michelle? Click below to email her.

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There’s nothing more rewarding than giving birth to a beautiful new life. So much joy comes with that experience, but women love to put pressure on themselves to get their body back into shape immediately! I think it should be a priority to be evaluated by a pelvic floor therapist before returning to, or beginning any exercise after having a baby. And of course, I can’t emphasize enough that if there was ever a time to prioritize working with a qualified coach or trainer, it would be after childbirth! Remember, if you’ve had a baby, you’re considered postpartum, whether it was 3 months ago, or 10 years ago.
When it comes to pre and postnatal women, in our private training, small group training and in our classes, we focus on regaining optimal function of the core and pelvic floor first and foremost, with the priority being building (or re-building) postural and core stability before increasing strength and eventually adding intensity.
Training with kettlebells can be incredibly effective for women pre and post-baby because it’s low impact, it involves the high recruitment of muscles in the posterior chain (key for improving overall strength, posture and restoring pelvic floor function, not to mention boosting metabolism), and utilizes the connection of proper breathing to movement (which lesses the pressure on the pelvic floor).
Want to check us out? Here’s a link to our Free Workout Saturdays, we offer this class, suitable for ALL levels, the first Saturday of every month at 11am.

POSTPARTUM EXERCISES 

Prepare for this workout by foam rolling (focus on upper back between shoulder blades, the glutes, hamstrings and quads). Stretch hamstrings and complete at least 10-20 belly breaths (either laying on your stomach as shown, or on your back with knees bent and feet elevated). For the breathing, concentrate on expanding the abdomen all the way around (into the back, expanding the ribs laterally and allowing your belly to rise) with each inhale breath.

Warm-up: 3 sets of 10 banded glute bridges, 10 clamshells on each side, 10 heel lowers. For all 3 exercises the band is placed just above the knees, with the emphasis being on pushing out into the band. Be aware of your alignment – ribs pulled down towards hips, not arching your lower back. On the heel lowers only go down as far as you can without either your ribs and/or lower back popping off the mat.

Superset #1: 5 sets of 8-10 kettlebell deadlifts, followed by 10 band-resisted marches on each leg. That equals one set. Rest as needed between sets, until all 5 sets are completed.
Cues for the deadlift: think of reaching back with the hips, rather than folding at the waist, keeping the spine long. As you grab the kettlebell, squeeze your arms to your armpits to engage your lats, then stand up tall, pulling the kettlebell into your body, squeezing your glutes at the top. Reverse the movement by slowly lowering the kettlebell back to the ground, keeping it close to your legs to complete 1 rep. Cues for the band-resisted marches: keep tension on the band, ribs down, lower back flat. Exhale as you lower one leg down to the ground slowly, only going as far as you can without arching. Placing a small towel underneath your lower back can help here – think about continually pushing into that towel with your back.
  
Superset #2: 3 sets of 10/10 single-leg deadlifts on each side, followed immediately by 5/5 pallof presses on each side. That equals one set. Perform 3 total sets.
Cues for the single-leg deadlift: keep hips and shoulders square; use the foam roller or a light weight here. Push both hips back as your leg extends behind you. Press through the standing leg to return to your starting position to complete one rep. Cues for the pallof press: flex the toes under of the foot behind you, squeezing your glutes and getting tall through the crown of the head. You want enough resistance on the band so that you are fighting the urge to rotate through the upper body. Brace your core and exhale as you push the handles away from you. Keep it slow and controlled as you pull the handles back in towards your body to complete the rep.
    
Stretch.

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