I get a lot of questions about safe arm workouts postpartum that people can do asap after they give birth. I get it, you just had a baby, you know to avoid abs workouts but you just wanna build muscle and burn calories because it’s something you enjoy, can do alone and feel like a version of your old self. Post baby workouts are no joke and you should really avoid things like lower abs exercises and push-ups but some muscle groups like the upper body can be safely performed.
To start, do not start exercising again until your body is ready. While many say to wait 6 weeks, some may be eager to do so and safely can around 3.5-4 weeks. This is when I usually start to do bodyweight exercises that are low impact and use core muscles only for stability. Lower body moves are done regularly by going up the stairs but most wouldn’t consider this a home workout.
Of course I need to recommend that you wait to start any fitness program after delivering a baby until you have been approved to do so by your OBGYN. However, many moms are not willing to wait the full 6 or 8 weeks especially when it comes to arms. They don’t see the harm and I get it.
After Tommy, I too was eager to start working out again. After Connor, I was not. I tell moms to take their time. If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know it took me 8 weeks to start working out again and 6 months to find motivation to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
So please, do not DM me bitching about your lack of progress 8 weeks postpartum. It took your body 9+ months to grow a HUMAN! It might take another 9 months or more to go back to feeling or looking like it did before your pregnancy. For some of us, our bodies will NEVER look the same.
You do not need to go to a gym for newly postpartum workouts, especially this upper body circuit. You actually don’t even need a mat really! I would recommend this routine for someone who is 6 months postpartum but you can do it sooner by skipping the oblique twists in the beginning and modifying the push-ups by making sure your knees are under your hips.
That being said, I wanted to share a workout that is likely OK to do before that 6 week check up as long as you are feeling good, not in pain and minimal bleeding. If you start bleeding again after stopping, that might be a sign you overdid it.
This is also a great a workout just to do if you only have 10 minutes. When I label a workout as postpartum or postnatal, all it means is that you’ll find it low impact and modified abs as to not exacerbate a diastasis recti or to heal one.
Use a lighter set of weights for this workout but don’t forget that if you just gave birth to an 8 lb baby, they might weigh 10 lbs now, so 5 lb dumbbells are totally fine. I would suggest 8 lb dumbbells
For this workout, you’ll need a set of medium dumbbells. You of course can use a variety of weights if you have them available or even use a bench. If any of the moves feel uncomfortable, stop! I am using a set of dumbbells that are 8 lbs each.
I filmed this video 6 months postpartum but would approve someone doing this 6 weeks postpartum, omit the second ab twisting move though! This move is great to add back in but give your body at least 3 months before adding ab work back into your workout routine.
Workout Length: 10 minutes (do each move back to back, following the prescribed number of repetitions)
Body parts worked: Shoulders, Chest, Biceps and Triceps (little bit of core)
Move 1: Core Activation: Standing Crunch
Move 2: Core Activation: Stomach Vaccum
Move 3: Bicep Curl 12 reps
Move 4: Upright Row 12 reps
Move 5: Shoulder Press 12 reps (skip if you have pelvic floor prolapse)
Move 6: Overhead Tricep Extention 15 reps
Move 7: Modified Lie Down Push Up 8 reps
Move 8: Chest Flt 15 reps
Move 9: Front Raise 12 reps
Move 10: Heel Slides 12 reps each side
Move 11: Single Leg, Leg Lift 12 reps each side