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The Postpartum Pilates Workout
At six weeks postpartum, most women are ready for a more rigorous workout. The following Pilates-based mat routine, designed by Octavio Galindo, will help you regain shape in your legs and buttocks while rebuilding your ab strength. It’s perfect for new moms: No equipment is necessary, and two moves can be done with your baby, three without (keep baby on the floor next to you; she’ll probably be fascinated by your activity).
With Pilates movements, each exhalation should be slow and deep, as if blowing out a lot of birthday candles, making your belly as concave as possible.
Continue doing the exercises designed for Day 1 through 6 weeks (see left, top) and add the following moves. Do them in order every other day, working up to doing them every day.
1.Baby Curls (done with baby) Lie on your back with knees bent and in line with your hips, calves parallel to the floor. Place baby face-down on your abdomen. Hold her with one hand and place the other on the floor, palm down, by your side [A]. Inhale and extend legs in the air at a 45-degree angle; at the same time, lift head, neck and shoulders off the floor as your arm lifts up and over head. Exhale [B]. Inhale and bring hand back to touch floor; exhale and bend legs to starting position. Repeat 10 times. For a less challenging version, extend one leg at a time. Strengthens abdominals.
2.Spine Roll (done without baby) Lie on your back, right knee bent so foot is flat on the floor; cross left knee over right. Extend arms out to your sides at shoulder height, palms down [A]. Inhale, dropping both knees down to the right as far as is comfortable [B]. Exhale, bringing legs back to starting position. Repeat 5 times; then switch leg position and roll 5 times to the other side. Remember to pull in your belly each time you exhale. Strengthens abdominals and spine.