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Mom and baby workout
With your doctor’s approval, you may be able to take long walks and add a strengthening workout to the above-mentioned moves at six weeks postpartum (or earlier if all bleeding has stopped, your scars are healing well and you have sufficient energy). The following exercises are designed to increase overall body strength, which will not only help get you back into shape but may also prevent aches and pains, including back strain, as your baby grows. The moves are simple and can be done in the comfort of your home. Equipment needed: one happy baby.
1. Baby ride
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Hold your baby under her armpits, legs straddling you just above your pubic bone [A]. Contract your abdominals and tilt your pelvis to curl your tailbone, buttocks and lower back off the floor, contracting your buttocks at the top of the lift [B]. Release and lower your hips. Do 2 sets of 8 reps. Strengthens abdominals, buttocks, lower back, inner and outer thighs, and ankle flexors.
1. Toes off floor and flexed upward. 2. Open and close knees with toes flexed and off floor. Do 2 sets of 8 of each variation, building to 3 sets of 8. Strengthens quadriceps, buttocks, hamstrings, lower back and abdominals.
2. Baby crunches
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your baby on your lower legs, with her chest facing you, holding her under her armpits for support. Gently contract your abdominals, tilt your pelvis and roll backward until you’re lying flat on the floor with your baby still on your shins and your knees pulled close to your chest [A]. Curl your head, neck and shoulders up and forward off the floor; exhale at the top of the lift [B]. Inhale, return to starting position and repeat. Do 2 sets of 8 reps, building to 4 sets of 8. Strengthens abdominals.
3. Kiss the baby push-ups
Get on your hands and knees, arms straight and slightly in front of your shoulders, with knees behind your hips and your baby lying on the floor between your hands. Contract your abs so your head, neck, spine and hips form one straight line [A]. Inhale and bend elbows out to sides; lower yourself to kiss your baby [B]. Exhale, push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat. Training tip: Lift and lower your body in one straight line without collapsing. Do l set of 8 reps, building to 2 sets of 8. Strengthens chest, front shoulders and triceps.