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Ask the Expert: How do I program and cue for a postnatal client?

Ask the Expert - Post Natal

In general, we are looking to return a post-natal client to a pre-pregnancy state of fitness and posture. Early in the post-natal period – 6–12 weeks – and once the client has been given clearance to resume exercise, the workout should be fairly gentle, following a third-trimester program with appropriate modifications. As the fitness level increases, modifications are less necessary and the intensity of the workout can be increased to develop greater strength and mobility in the entire body. The following exercises can help restore strength, flexibility and overall conditioning.

Exercise: Back rowing, roll down

  • Focus: Strengthening of the core muscles including activation of the deepest layer of abdominals – the transversus abdominis. This will also help with reconnecting the pelvic floor which may have become dysfunctional during the pregnancy and delivery. Attention should be paid to increasing flexion in the lower back and not just hinging the torso. Ideal scapular placement and stability is also necessary
  • Set up: ½ - 1 spring, sitting on the carriage facing the pulleys, spine as tall as possible, legs long between the shoulder rests, ankles crossed if necessary, holding loops, arms rounded in front of shoulders, hands together
  • Cueing: inhale: prepare; exhale: roll back off sit-bones, flexing lower back and pull hands in toward chest, scoop abdominals and glutes to round lower back; inhale: hold position, keeping eye focus forward; exhale: scoop abdominals and round torso forward over legs, bringing pelvis up to vertical keeping hands in toward chest; inhale: bring spine back to vertical from tailbone to head, releasing tension on straps
  • Complete 5–8 repetitions

Exercise: Short spine prep

  • Focus: Re-establishing good posture. Often, the physiological changes that occur during the pregnancy create imbalances in the musculature surrounding the upper back, lower back, hip joints and shoulders. It is important to address the imbalances so that ideal posture can be restored
  • Set up: 2 springs, lying supine (on the back) on the carriage, both feet in straps, legs long, reaching out on a diagonal, lower back imprinted against the carriage, legs turned out, toes apart, heels together, toes pointed
  • Cueing: inhale: turn the legs to parallel and reach long legs up toward the ceiling, keep the tailbone down and bring the lower back to a neutral position; exhale: keep the tailbone dropping down toward the carriage and lengthen the back of the legs further without letting the knees bend; inhale: turn the legs out and bend the knees, pulling the heels down toward the tailbone without letting it lift off the carriage, flex the feet with heels together and toes apart; exhale: straighten the legs out on the diagonal returning the lower back to an imprinted position and point toes
  • Complete 5–8 repetitions

Related posts

Exercises for Pre/Post-Natal Clients - Exercises & Cuing for a Pre-Natal client
Prenatal Series: Fitness in the Second Trimester
Prenatal Series: Fitness in the Third Trimester