A Simple Post C Section Workout Plan [For Busy Moms]

Today, we are going over a simple post c-section workout plan you can do from home.

Recovering from a c-section is hard work.

That’s why it’s important that you exercise in a safe but efficient way.

After reading this post you’ll learn:

  • when you can exercise after a c-section,
  • how to exercise safely, and
  • the best exercises to include in your workout plan.

Let’s get started.


How long after My C-section can I exercise?

Most OBGYN’s would agree that you can begin exercising 6-8 weeks after a c-section. However, that is usually the best-case scenario.

Depending on how extensive your c-section was, recovery may take a little longer. Some women aren’t ready to exercise for 12 weeks or more.

Don’t forget – this is major abdominal surgery you just had!

Your doctor will be able to give you more personalized recommendations.

It’s also important to note that you need to listen to your body when doing any kind of activity in the early weeks after a c-section.

What exercise can I do after A C-section?

After abdominal surgery, it is important that you do low-impact exercises to help with c-section recovery.

There are three major exercises that you should start doing as early as possible.

  • Walking
  • Pelvic Floor Work
  • Core Breathing Exercises

These three gentle exercises will make up the majority of your exercise routine in the first few weeks.

The Three Best Exercises To Help With C-Section Recovery

Now let’s go over 3 easy exercises all new mothers should do in the early days after surgery.

Walking After A Cesarean Section

Walking is the most important exercise that you can do post-op.

It stimulates blood flow throughout your body, activates muscles in your core and legs, and it gets your metabolism going.

You should try walking the very next day after your surgery.


When you’re first starting out, make sure to get help getting in and out of the bed, and when taking your first few steps.

Start with short walks and work your way up.

Here’s Your Goal:

  • Aim for 10 minutes of walking every single day. Break it up however you need. Take breaks. Do 1 minute at a time. Whatever you do, do not lie in bed all day!

For added comfort, you can also use an abdominal binder. There is no data that it actually helps with postpartum recovery, but a lot of women at my hospital find that walking is easier while wearing it.

You can usually get one at your hospital, but if not:

This one has good reviews on Amazon

Pelvic Floor Exercises Post Cesarean Delivery

Do you need to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles even if you didn’t have a vaginal birth?


Your pelvic floor muscles had to support your growing baby inside your uterus for months on end. They will be stretched out and weakened which is a risk factor for pelvic floor dysfunction.

But the best part is:

You can do pelvic floor work from any position.

Sitting, laying, standing, it doesn’t matter.

Start with just the kegel exercise, which is a gentle exercise that you can do every single day. Check out The Best Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises to learn more.

Here’s Your Goal:

  • Do at least 30-50 repetitions spread throughout the day. For example, 2 sets of 10 in the morning, 3 sets of 10 in the evening etc.

Breathing Exercises Post Cesarean Section

Lastly, it is important that you master the diaphragmatic breathing drill.

This core exercise is important for opening up your lungs, training your diaphragm muscle, and activating the deep core muscles of the transverse abdominis.

The transverse abdominis is one of the key muscles in improving core strength, and healing diastasis recti.


It’s a simple exercise.

We also encourage all post-surgical patients on the postpartum unit to do it.

That’s what the incentive spirometer device is for.

From a seated position, inhale as much as you can while you expand your ribs.

This helps provide negative pressure into your lungs to help them expand.

After the inhalation, you should exhale slowly and fully to feel your core muscles engaging.

Here’s Your Goal:

  • Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing daily. 10 repetitions two to three times per day.

So that will be your post c-section workout for at least 1-3 weeks.

Can I do squats after C section?

You can perform the squat (and other bodyweight exercises) 2-3 weeks post c-section. You want to make sure that you see your provider first before doing so.

Most OBGYNs will see you 1-2 weeks after your surgery to make sure your c section incision site is healing appropriately.

By this time, you may or may not feel ready to do exercises like the squat.

As always, take your time and listen to your body.

When first starting out, use the back of a chair to help support you on the way up and the way down.


Alright, now let’s get to the Workout.

A simple post c-section workout plan

Before getting started with this workout, I want you to make sure of three things:

  1. You are at least 6-8 weeks post postpartum
  2. You have been cleared/ given the green light by your doctor to exercise
  3. You have walked, strengthened your pelvic core, and practiced deep breathing at least 5x per week

Did you check off all three?

If so, you’re good to go.

These workouts are gentle, and can really help speed up your post operative recovery.

Each workout will aim to do three things

  • Strengthen your upper body
  • Strengthen your lower body
  • Strengthen your core

Let’s get started.

Workout 1

Wall Push-ups

The first exercise in your post c-section workout is the wall push-up.


This is one of the best introductory exercises to help you strengthen the upper body.

  • Stand at least 12 inches away from a wall, enough to extend your arms against it.
  • Set your stance shoulder-width apart and place your outstretched hands against the wall.
  • Brace your core and go into a posterior pelvic tilt
  • Begin bending at the elbows, keeping them tucked and close to your body.
  • When your forehead approaches the wall, pause, then press back out.

Try to get 12 repetitions per set.

Wall Sits

The next exercise is great for training the muscles in the front and back of your legs simultaneously.


And the best part is, you don’t even have to move to do it.

  • Place your back against a wall with your feet 8-12 inches away from the wall.
  • Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Next, posteriorly tilt your pelvis by flattening your low back against the wall.
  • Squat down as low as you comfortably can.
  • Keep both feet flat on the ground, and your upper back flat against the wall.

Hold this position for 15 seconds.

Posterior Pelvic Tilts

The third exercise is the posterior pelvic tilt. This is one of the most fundamental exercises for you to learn postpartum.


It forms the basis for almost every exercise you can do for diastasis recti training because it’s the easiest way to activate your transverse abdominis muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • From here, flatten out your low back against the ground by contracting your ab muscles and tilting your tailbone up toward the sky.
  • This will naturally rotate your pelvis into a neutral position.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds without letting your low back come off the floor.

Try to do 5 repetitions per set.

Go through these three exercises 3 times total to complete Workout 1.

Workout 2

Towel Face Pulls Into External Rotations

The next exercise is the face pull into external rotation.


This movement will strengthen your back and your shoulders, two neglected muscle groups.

To get the most benefit from this exercise, you will need a towel.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Hold a towel in your outstretched hands in front of you.
  • Next, begin pulling the towel apart as if you were trying to tear it in half.
  • Then, start bringing the towel toward your face.
  • As you get closer, begin externally rotating your arms up so that the towel ends up directly over your head.
  • Continue pulling the towel apart and concentrate on squeezing your scapulae together.

Do 12-15 repetitions per set.

Kneeling Squats

Next is the kneeling squat. This is an exercise that combines elements of knee flexion and hip extension at the same time.


It’s a great exercise that teaches you how to activate your glute muscles while training the quadriceps.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Get into a tall kneeling position with a cushion or rolled-up mat underneath your knees
  • Next, lower yourself so that you are sitting down on your heels
  • From here, squeeze your glute muscles to extend your hips back to the starting position.
  • Repeat using a smooth controlled motion.
  • To make this exercise more difficult, add the postpartum trainer glute resistance band which can be purchased here.

Do 12-15 repetitions per set.

Heel Slides

The third exercise for workout 2 is the heel slide. This exercise further strengthens the ab muscles post-cesarean section.


Heres how to do it.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
  • Tilt your pelvis posteriorly and then slide one heel on the floor until your leg is straight.
  • Make sure that your low back remains flat throughout the entire exercise.
  • Slowly bring that leg back up to the start, and repeat with your other leg.
  • Alternatively, you can do all of the repetitions on one side before removing on to the next.

Do 8 repetitions per side.

Go through these three exercises 3 times total to complete Workout 2.

Workout 3

Chair Dips

The first exercise of workout 3 is the chair dip. This is a good exercise to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder as well as your triceps.


Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a chair or bench that is sturdy enough to hold your weight
  • Grab the edge of the chair with your palms down and elbows straight as seen in the image above
  • Make sure to keep your scapula retracted and hands outward throughout the entire movement
  • Do not place your hands forward as this can put your shoulder in a compromised position
  • Dip down by bending at the elbow
  • Return back to the starting position by straightening your elbows

Perform 10-12 repetitions per set.

The Staggered Hip-Hinge

The lower body exercise in workout 3 is the staggered hip-hinge. This movement is great for targeting the glutes, the low back, and the hamstring muscles.


Here’s how to do it:

  • Stagger your stance approximately 18 inches apart with your feet pointing forward.
  • Next, begin bending at the waist and NOT at your spine (i.e keep your back straight).
  • Reach down, keeping your front leg relatively straight, until you feel a stretch in your hamstring muscle.
  • When you do, pause for a second and then come back up by squeezing your glute muscles.
  • You can make this exercise more effective by holding onto a dumbbell, a gallon of water, or some other external weight.
  • Don’t forget to train both sides.

Aim for 8-10 per side.

Modified Side Planks

The third exercise in this workout is the modified side plank.


This exercise comes up again and again because it is the best way to train the endurance of the oblique muscles. It is especially important for you to practice this movement after a c-section to help improve core stability and strength.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Lie on your side and prop yourself up on your elbow for support.
  • Keep the knee of your bottom leg bent and in contact with the floor.
  • Extend your top leg and place that foot on the ground for balance.
  • Next, lift up your hips off the floor and hold this position.
  • Make sure that you keep your back and hips as straight as possible.
  • Don’t forget to train both sides.

Hold the side plank for 15-20 seconds per side.

Go through these three exercises 3 times total to complete Workout 3.

See The Video Of All Three Workouts Below!

How To Structure Your Postpartum Workout

So there you have three distinct workouts to do by the time you are 6-8 weeks post-c-section.

I recommend that you do these workouts on alternate days like this.

MondayWorkout 1
TuesdayWalking/Pelvic Floor Work
WednesdayWorkout 2
ThursdayWalking/Pelvic Floor Work
FridayWorkout 3
SaturdayWalking/Pelvic Floor Work
SundayWalking/Pelvic Floor Work

On the days where you aren’t doing a workout, I encourage you to maintain some level of physical activity such as gentle walking or pelvic floor work.

After you feel comfortable with this workout (at least 4 weeks) then you can move on to more difficult workouts.

I have an entire article on postpartum weightlifting with a week by week plan liked at the bottom of this post!

Exercises to avoid after c-section

Okay, so that was a list of safe exercises you can do after a c-section delivery. Now lets talk about ones to avoid.

The first and most obvious is the sit-up and crunch. These exercises place too much pressure on your abdominal muscles and can interfere with healing of your scar tissue.


That’s why you should roll over out of bed, and not sit-up directly.

Instead, you need to focus on ab exercises that emphasize posterior pelvic tilt and minimize trunk movement.

Other exercises that place a lot of pressure on the abdominal wall include:

  • Twsiting
  • Full Planks
  • Full push-ups
  • Heavy weight lifting such as overhead press, and squats
  • High-impact exercises like jumping

That’s not to say you can’t ever do these exercises.

You will just have to work your way back up by using a workout plan like the one I outlined above.

Post C-Section Workout Plan PDF

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Does The C-section Pooch Go Away?

Some women will develop what is often called “the c-section pooch.” This is a layer of fat that overhangs where your c-section scar is.

This can form for several reasons.

  1. The manner in which your internal scars heal can shift the way your subcutaneous tissue sits on your belly
  2. Your core muscles are weak and stretched out
  3. Your body fat levels have increased

As a result, making the “pooch” go away requires a multi-factorial approach.

This involves exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle changes that promote weight loss. I go into more detail in my post on how to lose weight after a c-section.

What Are The Best Exercises After C-Section To Reduce My Tummy?

There is no special abdominal exercise that will help you get a flat stomach after a c section. Instead, you need to focus on lifestyle changes that will help you lower your body fat percentage.

With that said, it is still important for you to perform core exercises as it will be very weak following your delivery.

What’s The Best Way To Fix A Weak Core After C-Section?

Fixing a weak core after a c-section will require you to strengthen your transverse abdominis and oblique muscles BEFORE your rectus abdominis muscles.

That’s because these are the muscles that provide support to your abdomen and close up any abdominal separation.

That’s why my diastasis recti program follows a specific sequence. It starts off by showing you the best transverse abdominis exercises to heal your connective tissue.

Doing the wrong abdominal exercises at the wrong time can lead to a worsening of your abdominal muscle separation.

A core and pelvic floor physical therapist can also help guide you in the right direction.

When Can I Lift Heavy Weights After A C-Section?

How quickly you get back to weight training will depend on your pre-c-section activity levels and how quickly you recover.

With that said, it is important that you follow a step-by-step process to get you back to the barbell.

At the minimum, you should spend 3-4 months working your way back up to heavy weights.

I go over a week to week strength training program you could follow for postpartum weightlifting here.

What About Running After A C-Section?

Aerobic exercise is another great way to exercise after surgery. I have an entire post on running after your pregnancy. It describes a weekly approach to help you get back on track.

Final Thoughts On Returning To Exercise After C-Section

Getting into a workout routine after a c-section takes patience, time, and a well thought out plan.

As always, stay safe, listen to your body, and seek guidance from your providers if anything feels funny.

So now I want to turn it over to you.

How many weeks has it been since your c-section? Which of these exercises are you excited to try?

Comment below and let me know!

Related Post C-Section Workout Posts

Get Four Free Workouts To Help Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor & Heal Your Mommy Tummy!


Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.

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18 thoughts on “A Simple Post C Section Workout Plan [For Busy Moms]”

  1. This is awesome! I am 6 weeks postpartum and wish I would have found this 6 weeks ago. Thank you for putting this together!

  2. My goodness, I should have found this sooner. I am 6 months after c-section and ready to start work out, reduce weight and hopefully get back to flat stomach.

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hi Donna!

      Thank you so much for the comment. And congratulations on your delivery! I am so happy you are finding the site helpful. πŸ™‚ Good luck with everything!

  3. This is great! I’m 7 weeks post c-section and just started this workout today. Thank you!

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Awesome Rachel! Thank you so much for your comment πŸ™‚

  4. I just purchased your guide! I’m six week pp and so excited to start working out. I’m so glad I found your guide!

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hi Lori Beth,

      Thank you so much for the comment and I am so excited for you to start working out!

  5. I’m 11 weeks post c section and just getting started with these workouts. I’m never good at sticking with a workout and have never needed to lose weight or get fit until now. I am looking forward to feeling stronger and more capable of fluid movement!!

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for your comment!

      I am so proud of you for starting the workout!! Getting started is the hardest part.

      Just take it one day at a time and remember something is always better than nothing in fitness!

      Best of luck!

  6. 8 weeks post c-section, have been walking everyday for a few weeks but looking to reduce the mummy tummy now.
    Looking forward to trying these exercises πŸ‘πŸ»

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hi Jazmine,

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      Great job with the walking routine! Keep the momentum going πŸ™‚

  7. Hi, I am Stefan reading your blog it’s really impressive you had put a good piece of information over there about the health benefits of plank exercises. I really appreciate the knowledge you shared with us. Keep updating such informative content.

  8. Thank you so much for this!! Just completed my first workout at 2 months PP. I combined all the workouts in one session but was use to working out prior to my pregnancy.

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hi Kelsey!

      Thank you so much for your comment!

      Keep up the excellent work πŸ™‚

  9. I just started working out after having my son 6.5 months ago. I wish I had found these earlier. Should I still refrain from crunches?

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Overall, I think there are much safer and more effective core exercises that you can do. Check out my post on 21 core exercises you can do in pregnancy: These are also good in the postpartum!

  10. Glad I found this,im 7 weeks post my c section and ready to start…i want my flat tummy back within 6months

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