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Each mama’s pregnancy journey is unique, and the postpartum period is no exception. Similar to pregnancy, there are a wide range of factors that contribute to an individual’s experience after bringing a baby into this world. How soon and how much exercise an individual will and can do after having a baby will vary quite a bit. 

Whether you’re looking to start attending your favorite fitness studio again or incorporate some movement into your daily routine at home, you’ll want to be sure to focus on posture, work to strengthen the connection with your core and pelvic floor, and gradually increase your intensity and range of motion. Of course, before embarking on any postpartum fitness routine, please check with your doctor for their seal of approval. 

Related: 10 ways a postpartum mama can thrive in recovery

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Barre for pregnancy & postpartum

Barre can be a fantastic workout method for pregnant and postpartum mamas. Created in partnership with our friends at the Bloom Method, you’ll love this 25(ish) minute routine to help you strengthen and restore your body.

What to consider before working out postpartum

After you’ve consulted with your physician and received their approval to start up a fitness routine, here are some of the things you may want to consider:

  • Any complications the individual might have had during pregnancy 
  • What the individual’s birth experience looked like
  • The psychological and emotional aspects that may be experienced postpartum
  • Possible musculoskeletal dysfunction (incontinence, pelvic floor prolapse, diastasis recti, low back pain, pelvic girdle pain)
  • The amount of rest and recovery, nutritional needs, sleep and self-care 

4 postpartum barre exercise moves we use at Pure Barre

Here are a few moves that we incorporate in our classes at Pure Barre, that are excellent choices to consider and can be done from home without any equipment:

1. Squat

  1. Bring your feet slightly wider than hips, toes may turn out slightly 
  2. Bend your knees, press your hips back and stop the movement once the hip joint is slightly lower than the knees 
  3. Press your heels into the floor to return to the initial position.
  4. Repeat for 20 seconds.
  5. To add variety, you can switch up the “speed”. Example: utilize 4 seconds to go down and 4 seconds to go up 

Being able to connect your breath to your movement and engage your pelvic floor is extremely beneficial for all individuals, especially those returning to exercise postpartum.  For example, Essentially, if you were doing a squat, you would think of inhaling as you lower and exhale as you lift. ​To actively engage your pelvic floor, as you lower and inhale you are relaxing the pelvic floor and then as you lift and exhale, you are thinking of lifting the pelvic floor up and in. 

2. Lunge

  1. Hands on hips
  2. Bring your feet hip width apart
  3. Step your left foot back to come into a lunge
  4. Deepen the bend in both legs to slowly bring the left knee closer to the floor come back up to the starting position slowly–20 seconds 
  5. Hold it the lunge position, deepen the bend in both legs (very small range of motion) and come up just a couple of inches (to your starting point) – 20 seconds 
  6. Hold the lunge without any movement for 20 seconds. 
  7. Repeat on the left side.

NOTE: You can place your hands on your hips if you are looking to challenge your balance, or place your hands on the back or a chair (in class you’d often being facing the barre and holding on) 

3. Tabletop

  1. Come to all fours with your hands slightly wider than shoulders.  leg behind you. Bring heel towards your seat and point your toes. Pull your abs in—be sure to keep your neck in line with your spine
  2. Leg lowers slow, then presses back up slow – 20 seconds
  3. Leg lowers, then lifts (a little quicker) – 20 seconds 
  4. Hold the leg up (at the starting point) press tempo (think of activating the glute to press the toes up towards the ceiling) – 20 seconds
  5. Extend leg straight, point toes, leg lowers slow, then presses back up slow – 20 seconds 
  6. Leg lowers, then lifts (a little quicker) – 20 seconds 
  7. Hold the leg up (at the starting point) lift tempo (think of activating the glute to lift the leg up – working in a range of motion of just a couple of inches) – 20 seconds 
  8. Repeat 1-6 on the left side

4. Bridging

  1. Lie on your back. Arms long by your side. Feet hip width apart parallel. Press hips up into bridge position 
  2. Hips lower slow (tap the floor) lift up slow – 20 seconds 
  3. Hips lower lift (slightly quicker and smaller range of motion) – 20 seconds 
  4. Hold the hips up and lift the hips (think of activating the glutes to press the hips up towards the ceiling—working in a range of motion of just a couple of inches) – 20 seconds 

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.