So you’ve had your baby and you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about getting back into shape. What’s the first area most women want to target? Their mid-section. It’s the obvious choice, right? It’s just been stretched out to oblivion and now you want your waistline back. Fair play.. that’s a very logical request. But what about all the heavy lifting you’ve just signed up for? Your days are now spent carrying a combo of baby, pram, shopping, car seat, nappy bag, travel cot... (a lot with one arm might I add!!)… the list is endless. Who prepares your upper body for all this awkward sudden carrying of stuff? No one!!! So I’ve put together a great “at-home” workout you can do that is designed to strengthen arms, core AND back in one fell swoop!! You’ll be lifting those loads like a pro in no time.
NB: Focus on good technique and stop if you feel any major pain in your lower back. All exercises can also be performed from the forearm position if wrists become fatigued.
1. STRAIGHT ARM PLANK TO SIDE PLANK
- Start in a plank position, shoulders broad, naval to spine, kneecaps drawn up the thighs. Hold for 10 counts.
- Slowly pivot your feet and raise your left arm into the air until you are in a side plank. Hold for 10 counts.
- Come back to the centre, hold for 10 counts.
- Pivot the other way lifting your right arm. Hold for 10 counts.
- Return to centre. Repeat whole sequence 3 times.
2. SCOOTER - Single Leg Combo
- Start in a plank position, shoulders broad, naval to spine, back of your neck long.
- Lift your left leg off the ground, point your toes and reach your leg away from you. Squeeze your left knee into your chest keeping your right heel pushing back. Stretch your left leg back behind you lifting your leg slightly to work your glutes. Without lowering your leg, squeeze the same knee in towards your right elbow then send it back. And again, squeeze the same knee in towards your left elbow and send it back. Then bring it forwards again through centre into your chest and send it backwards placing your foot down on the floor.
- Repeat sequence on the other side.
- Repeat whole sequence 5 times on each side.
3. LEG PULL BACK - Simple/Leg Raises
- Start sitting tall with your legs stretched out in front of you, naval drawn in towards your spine, toes pointed and inner thighs squeezing together.
- Place your hands flat on the floor slightly behind you, fingers and thumbs facing forward. (If this position is uncomfortable on wrists, rotate your hands out to the side until you find a position where you can comfortably lift yourself off the floor)
- Squeeze your bottom, activate your core and keeping your legs straight, slowly push yourself up off the ground until you are one long line from your neck down to your toes. Protect your neck by keeping your eye gaze forward.
- Slowly lower yourself back down to your start position, keeping your bottom slightly off the ground.
- Lift and lower 5-10 times.
- Lift yourself off the floor until you are one long line from your neck down to your toes and and raise your left leg as high up into the air as possible keeping it straight, then lower it towards the ground without actually touching the floor. Do 5 leg raises on one side and 5 leg raises on the other side without lowering your body in between and then lower yourself to the floor.
- Repeat sequence 3-5 times.
4. PROGRESSIVE/REGRESSIVE PUSH-UPS WITH UP-STRETCH TRANSITION
- Start in a plank position, shoulders broad, naval to spine, kneecaps drawing up the thighs and heels pushing backwards.
- Keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible, for a count of 2, slowly lower yourself down towards the ground maintaining a straight line through your body (i.e. don’t let your lower back collapse or sag).
- In another count of 2, push yourself back up to your plank position.
- Then without moving the position of your feet, hinge at your hips and lift your bottom into the air so you end up in an inverted “V” position (Up-Stretch or Downward Dog - see pic).
- Return to your plank position.
- This time, you are going to do 2 x push-ups and then transition into 1 x up-stretch.
- Add 1 x push-up into your sequence using 1 x up-stretch as your transition until you get to 5 x push-ups.
- Feel free to increase/decrease the number according to your ability and remember to always maintain good form!!!