Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
As Edinburgh’s leading post-natal personal trainer I get asked about post-natal yoga and pilates classes a lot. I always advise to stay away from group exercise classes for a while, especially stretching classes, and I’ll explain why here.
A little caveat first; I am NOT saying to never do post-natal yoga or pilates, I AM saying that you have to be careful what to do and when. Here’s my advice;
1; When you first start training after having a baby you need to focus on activation of the muscles that have been switching off for the past 9 months. Especially your glutes, upper back and core need a bit of attention. You don’t need to do heavy weights but you should do this by doing resistance training. Until all your muscles are activating properly you should not do ANY cardio (jogging, X-trainer etc.), dance classes, HITT training or heavy weights
Please don’t start here
2; Start with 1-2-1 or small group PT rather than group exercise classes. As great as group exercise classes might be, usually the trainer does not have the time to make sure you are doing each exercise correctly and, most importantly, that all the right muscles are working when you do a certain exercise. I have seen too many New Mommy classes which have 10-15 ladies in it and the instructor is just up on a stage “showing” them how to do the exercises. This just teaches you how to do everything incorrectly and teaches your body to cheat it’s way through an exercise. It causes MUCH more damage than it does you any good.
This is exactly what I’m talking about. Don’t do this until you’re ready!
3; When exercising remember that it’s about YOU and not your baby. Most of my ladies bring their new-born or toddlers with them, and this is great, but we don’t exercise with them. We don’t do “kissy push-ups” or baby-lifts. You have to focus on yourself as much as possible, this is your time. Your little one will get plenty of attention when the session is finished. It’s OK to think about yourself and enjoy yourself.
No, just no. Focus on yourself.
4; Don’t push-stretch most muscles. Normal stretching is not for you for a little while. You still have the effects of Relaxin, a hormone produced during pregnancy, flowing through you and you’re stretched out enough in most areas. The ONLY muscles you should be stretching are your hip flexors, calf muscles and your chest muscles. Your other muscles, again especially glutes etc, you should strengthen up and get to contract a bit. You can ease them off a little bit when they’re tight but you should not be doing 30 minute stretching sessions on your abs, hamstrings, glutes etc and I see too many post-natal yoga classes do exactly this.
This is what to do.
5; Only deal with experts. I keep coming back to this; your body is at a very delicate stage and this is not the time to mess it up. For pelvic floor issues you should see a Pelvic Floor Specialist, rather than a normal physio. For training and coaching you should see someone who specialises in Post-natal exercise, you can always go back to your old coach later.
6; Enjoy yourself. This is about you, this is YOUR time. You’ll be stronger, look better, feel better, feel tighter, be more confident once you’ve done the right training. It’s worth it, just ask the mommies who’ve never done any exercise after having a baby and then ask the ones who did the right program and see which one is happier within herself.
Life is supposed to be fun.