Let’s prepare then participate in a return to fitness routine! Recently I got to meet remotely with some mamas (see Part One). Everyone’s pregnancy is different which makes generalized advice tricky, but I wanted to give them some go-to strategies to help them navigate their return to fitness. In particular how to interpret and balance the “all clear” to return to exercise from their doctor at 6-8 weeks.
“Gradually Progress Back to Exercise”
Mama’s often hear from their doctor: ‘Gradually progress back to exercise’. But what does that mean?? For some gradual may mean:
- I’ll run 2 miles, instead of 4.
- I will run at a slower pace.
- I won’t push the stroller while I run.
- I’ll run intervals
Let me give you a new way to interpret it:
Prepare Then Participate
Your 6-8 week clearance to return is a thumbs up to start to PREPARE! Being strong isn’t enough; time passing isn’t enough (6 weeks or 6 months). You need to build endurance, you need restored form (regaining reciprocation is paramount), you need to regain control on a single leg, and you need to rebuild impact tolerance (without pain or pelvic health symptoms like leaking).
If running is the goal, then make your exercise look like running. Try moving through this progression over time to PREPARE THEN PARTICIPATE.
- Walk longer and longer distances similar to what
you want to run first to build your endurance
- · Build to larger and larger lunge walks with an opposite trunk and arm rotation to add some rigor to a running like motion (and get your reciprocation back)
- · Progress to single leg work to prepare for landing on one leg (ex: single squats, split squats).
- · Create opportunities to expose yourself to impact gradually by practicing in a plank position to take the load off of
upright mountain climbers and plank jacks-then elevating on to higher and higher surfaces until upright (see a video demo here.)
- · Use some interval high skips to rebuild reciprocation with hip work, single-leg landing, and acceleration (pulls all your PREPARATION together).
If those activities get easier and easier, and you can do them for longer and longer, and pain and leaks aren’t happening in the prep. Time for some run/walk intervals. I like having folks start by running uphill/walking downhill on a min/mod incline. Then gradually build in longer runs, less walks and move to flats.
Stay Tuned for Part Three!
Don’t want to miss a post? Want to learn more and get first dibs on courses and the best deals during sales? Join my newsletter.