Postpartum Fitness: 5 Moves to Avoid!

I teach a Mommy + Me workout class in Boston once a week and my favorite thing is talking to all the new mommas about how THEY are doing. I asked everyone to share a personal win this week and at first they were silent with nothing at all. “Surely, you all had something new???” I encouraged them.

Then all of a sudden they started sharing;

  • “My son said dadada!”
  • “Mine slept 6 hours straight!”
  • “We’re starting to giggle!”

Being a mom, especially for the first time during your maternity leave, is so isolating! I love getting these women out of the house to do something for themselves.

They share experiences at other postpartum classes and hearing them share the exact same mistakes I called a class out for FOUR years ago is frustrating. I get that fitness is a science and constantly the recommendations are changing but if you’re going to teach a mommy and me class, you should know simple postpartum modifications. Alas, I know many amazing instructors who have postpartum women coming to their classes and their training did not cover diastasis recti modifications (none of them do!). So, you NEED to know what to do in the situation that you’ve got a trainer who doesn’t know what is best for you.

You need to educate yourself on what your body should and should not be doing.

Here are 5 things you should be avoiding in postpartum workouts if you may have a Diastasis Recti or are newly postpartum!

  1. Pushups!!! Pushups, especially pushups on your toes place too much pressure on your abdominal wall. If you must, do them on an elevated surface like a bench or wall, drop down to your knees for a modified position or just do a chest press lying on ground or on a bench.
  2. CRUNCHES! Who is still doing boring crunches anyway… but if you notice coning, stop what you’re doing. If the instructor has you doing these, simply go into heel taps as an alternative.
  3. Planks! Yep, the golden child of ab exercises is not safe for women who have a Diastasis Recti. This is one of the LAST moves of my DR Ab Rehab program. Drop down to your knees and give me a Bird Dog instead! This includes any moves that have you in a plank position for an extended period of time like shoulder taps, mountain climbers, etc.
  4. Hollow Body: If you don’t know this move, you basically are lying on your back with hands long, biceps by ears, legs long too and you look kinda like a hammock. This is a no go for me and they love to squeeze it in a Barry’s in Boston weekly. Just do heel taps here as well.
  5. Burpees: This should probably go under planks or pushups but burpees are like a combination of all the moves above I just said to avoid. Why? Too much on your core and pelvic floor as you heal. Take your time! I’d wait at least 6-12 months depending if you have a DR. Added pressure will make things harder on your body to fully recover. I would say, if you want to tackle a similar challenge, step back into a high plank, drop down to knees and then lie down on ground before pushing up into plank. Step feet in towards hands and stand up in a squat position.

Here are other examples of moves you can do instead of what your instructor tells you to do during any ordinary comment.

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