Resistance training increases your muscle strength by making them work
against a weight or force. It involves low-impact movements making this type of movement ideal for postnatal women.
Bodyweight alone makes for a great workout. Resistance bands and dumbbells amongst other equipment can also be used.
What muscles should be the focus when resistance training?
Core (abdominals, spine, pelvic floor)
When these muscles are strong, they better support your lower back by taking the load and reducing the strain which means reduced risk of back pain.
Quadriceps and Hamstrings (thighs)
Trapezius and Latissimus dorsi (back)
Biceps, Triceps & Deltoids (arms and shoulders)
It’s important to not rush your recovery process (slow and steady wins the race).
A solid foundation of endurance and stability-based training must be built before any load or resistance is added. This includes a focus on pelvic floor and abdominal function.
Workload should be increased gradually and monitored.
Slow and controlled movements with sound technique are key.
Work to a mild fatigue not failure.
Avoid holding your breath – generally look to exhale on the exertion (hardest part of the exercise).
Focus on exercises that help with activities of daily living and motherhood e.g. lifting, carrying and general postural awareness.
Exercises which cause abdominal doming (pointing) may require a different approach through your technique or breathing. However, if you still feel / notice this try again at a later date as it might mean that right now a particular exercise is putting too much strain on your core.
Once ready to add load/ resistance, use low to moderate resistance until muscles and joints have regained strength and stability and utilise higher rep ranges (12-20 initially).
Exercise body parts in rotation e.g. upper and lower body.
If you are new to resistance training, start gently with bodyweight, resistance bands, and light weights.
If you’re breastfeeding, resistance training is safe and doesn’t impact on breast milk quality or infant growth.
UK CMO physical activity guidelines (2019) for women after childbirth recommends building back up to muscle strengthening activities involving all the major muscle groups twice a week (in addition to any aerobic activity). You can find these guidelines here
If you’d like to find out more about the types of resistance training we can do together to assist with either your postnatal journey (or pregnancy journey) feel free to get in touch.