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Are you missing your prepregnancy shape, but feel like you just don’t have the time to work out because there’s a new baby in the house? This workout, which was designed exclusively for Fit Pregnancy by Patrea Aeschliman, president of Go Mom Fitness and creator of the 15 to Fit pre- and postnatal workout DVD, is an at-home strength-training program that will recondition and strengthen your entire body without taking up too much of your valuable baby-bonding time.
These time-saving moves work multiple muscles simultaneously and target every major muscle group, including legs, buttocks, back, abs and arms. “The program also speeds metabolism and burns more calories,” says Aeschliman, a mother of two. If your doctor approves, you can begin as early as 6 weeks after delivery (longer if you had a Cesarean section). What are you waiting for? Get moving!
With your doctor’s OK, begin doing this workout 1–2 days per week, gradually increasing the number of days as you get stronger (just be sure to take a day off in between). You can do cardio exercise on the same or alternate days. Do 1 set of 10–15 repetitions for each exercise in the given order, resting 30 seconds between moves. Begin by doing these moves without weights, then try using 3- to 5-pound dumbbells or Spri Mini Contour-Weights (www.amazon.com). When you feel strong enough, add the Bonus Move to each rep to increase intensity.
If possible, go for a 10- to 15-minute walk (with your baby in a stroller or carrier) to warm up your muscles, or dance with your baby to get your heart rate up a bit. Then roll your shoulders forward and back, and do wrist and ankle rolls clockwise, then counterclockwise, 5 times each way.
1. Plies and Presses
Stand with feet wider than hips, toes and knees turned out. Raise arms over head and bend elbows to bring weights behind your head. Squeeze buttocks and draw in abs and pelvic-floor muscles. Bend knees, lowering hips without rocking them forward or back and straighten your arms. Return to starting position by straightening legs and bending elbows. Do 10–15 reps.
Bonus move: Lift your heels as you bend your legs and straighten your arms.
2. Walking Lunges With Curls
Stand with your arms at your sides, holding dumbbells, palms facing in, feet hip-width apart. Keeping shoulders relaxed and abs drawn in, take a big step forward with your right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees. Keep right knee over right ankle, left knee approaching the floor, but not touching. Bend elbows, curling the weights toward shoulders (shown). Straighten arms, then push off your back foot to the starting position. Do 10–15 reps, alternating legs (1 rep equals 1 lunge on each side).
Bonus move: Do a knee lift before you step forward with each leg.