I gave birth four months ago and have started exercising recently. I am really shocked how weak my body has become. Pregnancy placed more stress on my body than I ever thought possible. One of the changes is to your posture as it adapts to your growing belly by tightening your lower back muscles and weakening your butt, tummy and back of your legs (hamstring muscles). After childbirth it is likely that your butt is much weaker than before. My butt is extremely weak following pregnancy to the extent that initially I could only manage a 20 second body weight bridge.
Exercises I am doing to strengthen my butt include:
- Body weight pole squats
- Deadlifts with light weight
- Bridge with body weight
- Swiss ball leg curls
I have selected these exercises as I can do them at home and they do not overly challenge my stability. As your tummy muscles are really weak you are likely to be more unstable when you exercise so try to modify your training regime to take this on-board. The amount of relaxin you have circulating in your body following childbirth is another reason to be cautious of certain exercises which are too challenging on your balance. Relaxin is a hormone circulating throughout your body whilst pregnant and for 6 months after childbirth. The hormone relaxes your ligaments and joints. This is great for childbirth but not conducive to intense training. I had excessive relaxin whilst pregnant with pregnancy hormones 3.5 times higher than normal and I still feel the relaxin in my body. This rules out running and anything which is too challenging for my stability just now. My pelvis still feels extremely loose.
Exercises I am avoiding include:
- Barbell Squats
- Donkey kicks
- Sumo squats
I am avoiding these exercises because my pelvis is still extremely loose and unstable. By strengthening my tummy muscles and waiting until my joints are more stable I should be able to get back to these exercises, running, and more intense training.