An Easy Postpartum Workout Plan for New Moms (Beginners Friendly)

Are you looking for an easy postpartum workout plan you can do from home?

You’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll go over a simple workout that uses four critical exercises.

You can do this workout if you’re a beginner or have a lot of experience.

Let’s get started!

postpartum workout plan cover image

Disclaimer

***READ FIRST***

Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.

Ok, moving on.



How long should you wait to work out after having a baby?

In general, you should wait at least six weeks after giving birth before beginning any strenuous exercise. Six weeks gives your body time to recover from the physical stress of labor and delivery. If you had a cesarean section, you might need to wait longer.

However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that new moms could begin some form of exercise activity just a few days after delivery.

Once your doctor has cleared you, start with low-impact activities and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.

What are the best post-pregnancy workouts?

The best post-pregnancy workouts to help you get back in shape include walking, pelvic floor exercises, core rehabilitation exercises, and strength training.

Walking is a great way to ease your body back into exercising, and it’s low impact, and you can do it anywhere. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed as you get more comfortable.

Secondly, you can do exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor exercises like the Kegel exercise help strengthen the muscles around the pelvis and improve bladder control. They’re also great for overall postpartum recovery.

Thirdly, you must begin strengthening your abdominal muscles safely and progressively. You also need to determine if you have diastasis recti.

Lastly, strength training is essential postpartum for rebuilding muscle after pregnancy.

Unfortunately, many women are afraid to exercise after having a baby. But you shouldn’t be.

Strengthening and developing your muscles is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body- especially postpartum.

Strong muscles = more lean mass, which = faster metabolism.

Let me teach you how to do it safely!

strong-muscles-postpartum

But before we begin, you must wait for your body to heal before doing anything strenuous.

Get clearance from your doctor first

Before doing this workout, see your doctor or healthcare provider for a postnatal check.

They need to give you the green light to do a resistance training workout.

Also, listen to your body.  You may feel ready to do this postpartum workout sooner than six weeks. 

Or maybe not.  

Some women don’t feel ready to exercise for about 8 to 10 weeks. 

Most importantly, you listen to your body and take things slow. If anything causes pain, then STOP!

If something doesn’t feel right, then STOP!  Nothing is ever worth injuring yourself.  

Everything should feel natural but challenging.

Okay. Let’s start.

A Safe and Effective Postpartum Workout Plan You Can Do At Home

There are hundreds of exercises that you can choose to build a workout.

The good news is that you do not need 100 exercises; you don’t even need ten exercises.

You can achieve excellent results by doing only four exercises.
Those four exercises include:

  • A Push
  • A Pull
  • A Knee Flexion
  • A Hip Extension

As a bonus, the fifth exercise you can include is a core exercise.

You are a busy mother, and you do not have a lot of time on your hands.

That’s why I hand-selected the best exercises for you. These four exercises will train all the major muscle groups in your body!

Let’s start the workout with a warm-up.

The Warm-Up

Before doing any exercise, you must do a proper warm-up

The warm-up serves a few purposes:

  • it increases your body’s temperature
  • It gets your heart rate up to improve blood flow to your body
  • It promotes circulation to your muscles
  • It prepares your mind and your joints for physical activity 

Warm-ups don’t have to take a long time or be complicated.

Here is a simple 5-minute warm-up you can do to get yourself ready for the workout.

Repeat the exercises in this warm-up as many times as you’d like. However, your warm-up should not take longer than 5 minutes.

The Best Postpartum Exercises To Include In Your Workout Program

Now let’s get to the exercises themselves.

You can do these exercises at home or at the gym.

The Weighted Squat

We will do squats for the very first exercise in our postpartum workout.

But we will do them with resistance.

It would help if you were comfortable doing regular bodyweight squats before doing this exercise.

If not, you can learn how to squat in my post here.

Here is how the exercise looks:

brittany holding a dumbbell by her chest as she squats down

The weighted squat will help tone your legs: specifically your quadriceps (front thighs) and adductors (the inner thighs).

For weights, you can use dumbbells, a resistance band, a weight vest, which you can purchase on Amazon, or a backpack with heavy books.

If you are at the gym, you can do them with a barbell if you feel comfortable.

Use one of the Postpartum Trainer’s Hip Resistance Bands to increase the difficulty even more. 

The most important thing is that your squats shouldn’t be easy.

Start with a weight that you can comfortably do. As time passes, I want you to gradually increase the weight or resistance.

I want you to do 10 to 12 repetitions for three total sets. Rest two minutes in between each set.

On a scale of 1-10, your sets should be 7/10 in intensity.

I have also developed a safe and effective postpartum squat challenge if you are looking to build and develop your legs and glutes.

Pike Push-Ups

For this next exercise, you are going to do pike push-ups.

The good news is that it is a bodyweight exercise, and you won’t need to use dumbbells or backpacks.

Here is how the exercise looks:

brittany with her hips piked up toward the sky with her hands on the floor, bending the eblows to bring her head down toward the ground

The pike push-up will strengthen the upper body and help tone your arms: particularly your shoulders and triceps.

If it’s too difficult, you can do it with your hands elevated on two chairs or with your knees bent.

You can make it more challenging by elevating your feet on a chair if it’s too easy.

Aim for a 7/10 intensity.

I want you to do 8-10 repetitions for three total sets. Rest three minutes in between each set.

Skater Dumbbell Deadlifts

The third exercise in this postpartum workout is the single-leg dumbbell deadlift.  

This exercise combines a squat and a deadlift, strengthening your hips and all the muscles in your legs.

Here I am doing the exercise during my second trimester of pregnancy.

brittany doing a skater deadlift in pregnancy

You can use dumbbells, resistance bands, or a weight vest, which you can purchase on Amazon, or you could use a heavy backpack.

Aim for a 7/10 intensity.

Do 10-12 repetitions per leg for three total sets. Rest 2 minutes between each set.

Rows

The fourth exercise, the row, is the pull exercise in the routine.

The row will strengthen your upper back muscles, biceps, and posterior shoulders. 

There are two variations you can do:

The inverted row is more effective if you have access to a gym or sturdy table or the bent-over row, which you can do at home.

This is what the inverted row looks like at home using a table.

brittany hanging off the edge of a sturdy table with her feet under the table and pulling her chest up to the table

For the bent-over row, you will either need to purchase dumbbells, barbells, or a resistance band to do it.

Here is how the exercise looks:

brittany bent-over on a chair rowing a dumbbell up toward her abdomen

It would be best if you did more repetitions to make the bent-over row more effective.

If you are doing the inverted row:

Do 10 repetitions per set. Do 3 total sets with 3 minutes rest between sets.

If you are doing the bent-over row:

Do 15-20 repetitions per set. Do 3 total sets with 3 minutes rest between sets.

Bonus Core Exercise: The Modified Side Plank

The last exercise in our postpartum workout is the modified side plank.

This exercise will help safely restore core strength, and it’s straightforward.

All you have to do is lie on your side, propped up on your elbow with the bottom knee bent on the floor and the other leg straight. You then lift your hips off the ground and hold this position for time.

Here is how the exercise looks:

brittany performing a modified-side-plank

To make the exercise more challenging, straighten both legs.

Check out this post to see a complete list of the best exercises to rebuild the core muscles postpartum.

Hold this position for 20 seconds. Do 3 total sets with 2-3 minutes of rest between sets

Frequently Asked Questions

Next, I want to review a quick Q&A regarding working out postpartum.

How Often Should You Workout Postpartum?

You should try to exercise at least three times per week postpartum. ACOG recommends that postpartum women get 150 minutes of exercise per week.

However, this might not be realistic for some new mothers.

The key is to exercise as often as possible, even if each session is of a short duration (10-15 minutes).

Can I Workout 2 Weeks After Giving Birth?

Ideally, you should wait at least six weeks before doing resistance training.

You may feel ready sooner depending on a few factors such as:

  • the type of delivery you had (vaginal delivery vs cesarean),
  • any postpartum complications you experienced,
  • your pre-pregnancy fitness level, and
  • your exercise activity before you delivered

It is much harder for your body to recover from a c-section as you have several incisions that need to heal.

With that said, if you were very active before delivering- you may be ready to exercise sooner. If you are ready to exercise sooner, be sure to get clearance from your doctor and have a look at these postpartum exercises you could perform prior to 6 weeks.

Can I Do This Postpartum Workout Plan While Breastfeeding?

The good news is that, in most cases, it is perfectly fine to exercise while breastfeeding. Research shows that exercise does not impact your milk supply.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re breastfeeding and working out.

First of all, it’s essential to make sure that you’re eating enough calories to support both yourself and your baby. Exercise can increase your appetite, as does breastfeeding, so make sure to eat an extra snack or two throughout the day.

Additionally, drink plenty of fluids before and after your workout to stay hydrated.

What Are The Benefits of Postpartum Exercise?

Exercise postpartum is associated with the following benefits:

  • stress relief
  • confidence in your postpartum body
  • development of under-active muscles 
  • fat loss
  • strengthening of bones and joints

First and foremost- exercise is an excellent form of stress relief.

Exercise has been shown to help boost your mood, improve blood flow to your organs, improve your breathing, and help you sleep better.

Exercise also has the other obvious benefit of developing your muscles, which is a big factor in fat loss.

Lastly, regular exercise can help strengthen your bones and joints. This is important for all women because it lowers the risk of osteoporosis.

What Should I Look Out For When Exercising After My Delivery?

So how do you know if you started exercising too soon?

I have an entire post on the risks of exercising too soon postpartum.

In short, things you should look out for include

risks of exercising too soon postpartum: delayed wound healing, bleeding, infection, muscle injury, back pain

How Can I Tone My Stomach After Having A Baby?

A common mistake is to think that doing direct ab exercises will help you tone your stomach after having a baby,

Unfortunately, exercise plays a very small role in helping you lose belly fat.

Instead, you need to improve your nutrition and achieve healthy weight loss. I cover postpartum fat loss in more detail here.

When Can I Return To Lifting Weights Or High-Intensity Training?

Generally speaking, you should avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first six weeks postpartum.

After that, you can slowly start adding weight but be sure to increase gradually and listen to your body for any pain or discomfort.

If you had a cesarean delivery, you might need to wait a bit longer before lifting heavy weights.

Be sure to check out my post on weight lifting for postpartum moms.

Final Thoughts On The Best Post-Pregnancy Workout Plan

In summary, I believe that most women should include strength training in their exercise plan.

However, you must take it slow and listen to your body.

The good news is that you only have to focus on four different exercises to see great results.

Okay, momma. That’s it for today.

What do you think of this workout?

Have you done resistance training before?

Comment below and let me know!

Other Articles on Postnatal Exercise


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


brittany-robles

Brittany N Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN, a NASM certified personal trainer, and health & fitness, expert. She holds a Masters 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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4 thoughts on “An Easy Postpartum Workout Plan for New Moms (Beginners Friendly)”

  1. Do you recommend doing these exercises all together in one workout or focus on one (or two) exercise(s) per workout? Just asking because it would take about an hour to complete total & I was hoping for close to a 30 minute workout since I work full time & have 2 kids. I’ll make it work, but just curious if you feel it’s more effective used altogether or if it’s designed to be done only one or a couple exercises at a time, thank you.

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hey Brooklyn,

      Thanks for the comment. You have two options: you can do the 2 exercises per workout (all 3 sets) 4 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday or however you’d like to arrange it) or you can do all 4 exercises (only 2 sets) 2 times a week (Monday, Thursday). The most important thing is to stay consistent.
      Good luck 🙂

  2. Hi
    New mom here –
    I just delivered my baby via c section, in September due to severe preeclampsia. During my pregnancy I was so exhausted and uncomfortable I didn’t work out at all so it’s been almost a full year!! I used to workout at home on my own to keep in shape and I have been wanting to workout but literally 3almost 4 months later I still have discomfort.
    I just recently started trying to do some leg workouts and arms- nothing crazy just like 15 mins. I have been petite my whole life (myself being a preemie baby) so this extra abdominal weakness and weight is driving me nuts. I am so excited to try this !!!
    I have looked up a lot of workouts and I like that this is incorporating arms/legs which would engage my core as well.
    It’s great to know you have experience with maternal health and diet. Two go hand in hand and food is 80% of it…

    Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and knowledge!!

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hi Miracle!

      Congratulations on your new baby and I am so glad you have been doing 15 minute workouts!

      Remember something is always better than nothing!

      Keep up the great work 🙂

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