Joanie Johnson breaks it down into 7 “easy” moves.
Jumping into a round of burpees would be daunting to, well, anyone really. Let alone a new mom. Thank goodness for pre/postnatal corrective exercise expert Joanie Johnson. Together with fellow mom, Carolina Gunnarsson, she started Fit Pregnancy Club in NYC’s Soho neighborhood—a studio dedicated to helping women stay fit throughout their pregnancy journeys, including post-birth. “Reconnecting to your core and improving your posture is the secret to regaining total-body strength and functionality after having a baby,” says Johnson. Her popular “Postpartum Rehab” full-body workout targets the entire core, from the diaphragm to the pelvic floor.
For our friends who reside outside the city, we had Johnson put together a custom Cov set that’s just as “easy” to do at home. We know being a baby-momma is already real tough—after all, her body just did something pretty damn miraculous. Adding this seven-move post-pregnancy workout—together with stroller-pushing, baby-carrying, and sprints to and from the baby’s room—will have her body feeling even stronger in no time.
Equipment required: Set of 8 lb weights; set of 2 lb weights (optional)
“Start lying down with your arms extended and knees bent at 90 degrees. Inhale, relax, then exhale and lift your pelvic floor. Wrap your abdominal wall toward your midline as you extend your right arm and left leg away from your midline. Maintain your core engagement as you return to the starting position. Inhale, relax, exhale, and then repeat on the opposite side. Try to maintain stability through the spine and pelvis by keeping your spine’s natural S-curve in alignment as you move.”
Do: 6-10 reps
Benefits: Improves posture by training your core to support proper spinal alignment.
ALL 4S PAPER SLIDES
“Start on all fours with a neutral pelvis. Inhale, relax, then exhale and lift your pelvic floor. Wrap your abdominals, and imagine sliding a piece of paper under your right palm and left knee. Use your core muscles to ‘lift’ your palm and knee one inch off the floor without shifting your body weight. Return to the start position while maintaining core activation.”
Do: 10 reps
Benefits: Improves pelvic stability and overall posture.
WEIGHTED CHEST OPENERS
“Stand with a neutral pelvis, micro bend in the knees, relaxed shoulders, and chest open. Extend your arms out to your sides (with or without weights). Inhale, relax, then exhale and lift your pelvic floor. Wrap your abdominal wall as you pulse your arms.”
Do: 20 reps (2 lb. weights optional)
Benefits: Trains postural muscles for bottle-feeding/nursing.
“Stand hip-width apart with your body on a 45-degree incline. Inhale, relax with the weights extended. Exhale, and lift your pelvic floor. Wrap your abdominals as you row your elbows in close to your rib cage. Keep the chest open, shoulders down, and shoulder blades squeezing slightly together.”
Tip: Don’t shy away from the 8 lb. weights! The average newborn is seven and a half-pounds. Build up that strength for all of the heavy lifting in your future.
Do: 15-20 reps (8 lb. weights)
Benefits: Creates muscle memory to engage the core and pelvic floor for lifting your baby.
“Begin standing with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keep the weight in your heels and the toes in a natural turnout. Inhale, and lower into a deep squat. Exhale, and lift your pelvic floor. Wrap your abdominals as you swing the weight away from your body, and press into the legs to stand.”
Do: 10-15 reps (8 lb. weight)
Benefits: Trains the arms and inner core to protect the lower back while lifting your baby.
“Start on your knees, with or without a weight. Inhale, and bring your right leg forward. Exhale, and drive your heel into the ground while you lift your pelvic floor and wrap your abdominals to stand. Inhale at the top. Exhale, and lift the pelvic floor to wrap the abdominals. Track your knees over your toes to lower back down.”
Do: 6-10 reps per leg (8 lb. weight optional)
Benefits: Trains the muscles to support up-and-down movement while holding your baby.
“Lay on your side, propped up with your elbow. Keep your neck and spine in alignment and knees and hips stacked vertically. Inhale, relax, then exhale, lift the pelvic floor, and wrap your core while opening your top knee to the ceiling. Be sure to keep hips stacked and the pelvis stable.”
Do: 20 reps per side
Benefits: Strengthens hips and glutes to prevent back strain.