The first 12 weeks after your delivery are CRUCIAL.
Not only is it the time where your body is going through the most physical changes (weight loss, hormonal changes, bleeding, etc.), but it’s also the time when you can make the biggest impact in terms of your postpartum recovery.
We want to start SLOW and build progressively back into our workouts. Starting things off right at week 1 will allow for that natural progression to take place so you can build that solid foundation and erase any fear around lifting after your delivery.
So, what should you actually be doing during those first 12 weeks postpartum?
Week 0: REST
- Sleep (whenever physically possible)
- Cuddle some more
- Eat good foods
Weeks 1-3: deep core / pelvic floor rehab + short walks + stretch/mobility work.
- Nail down the connection breath
- 5-20 minute walks
- Stretches: child’s pose, cat cow, down dog, seated pike fold, neck rolls
- Other movements: glute bridge, body weight box squat, modified bird dog
Weeks 4-6: body weight movements & light upper body dumbbell work
- Body squats
- Good mornings
- Seated DB shoulder press
- Reverse lunges
- Dead bugs
Weeks 6-12: rebuild strength foundation with light weights & wider variety of movements
- Goblet squats
- DB bent over rows
- Step ups
Weeks 12+: slow, progressive overload + ramp up of intensity
- Barbell squats, deadlifts, etc. with slow, progressive weight increases
- Gradual return to jogging, jumping movements, dynamic moves (like kettlebell swings)
- Increase in total duration and volume of workout
Think of these as building on each other!
For instance, you should be stretching, increasing time of your walks and continue focusing on deep core / pelvic floor / breathing throughout your entire recovery process, not just in weeks 1-3.
Another huge point: this timeline should be tailored to your specific situation and recovery! For those with a more complicated labor/delivery or c-section, you might want to bump back the timeline by a week or two (start at 3 weeks postpartum instead of 1), or elongate each time period (for example: work on deep core/PF/walks/stretch for 5 weeks instead of 3).
Still all sound a little too confusing?
If you want to take all the guesswork out of your postpartum recovery (I know how nerve-wracking it can be to program workouts during such a crucial time in your body’s recovery), just subscribe to FIGR:Postpartum – it’ll walk you through every part of this timeline day by day so you can get back to those weights! Let this program take care of your body so you can focus on taking care of your baby.
If you are curious if this timeline is appropriate for you, just shoot me a message and I can help determine your best plan of action!
We’re in it together,