Woman performing half-kneeling overhead press with kettlebell

Here’s a quick boost for your postpartum workout: Do it in half-kneeling! Half-kneeling-lifts perform triple duty for your glutes, core and upper body.

What is half-kneeling?

Half-kneeling is a base of support. Just like standing, sitting or lying on your back, half-kneeling  is a platform for your lifts. Relative to standing, half-kneeling has a narrower base of support and recruits more of your core musculature for stability. It also creates increased lateral (side-to-side) instability.

In a nice half-kneeling setup:

  • Knees are at 90 degrees, at hip distance or narrower.
  • Front shin is vertical.
  • Toes, knee and hip are in the same plane.
  • Torso is upright and spine is neutral; shoulders, hips and the down knee are in a vertical line

When you work in half-kneeling:

  • You untrain the common pregnancy postural compensations by encouraging your rib cage and pelvis to stack nicely.
  • You ask MORE of your deep core muscles (pelvic floor, transverse abs & diaphragm) because this position requires a TON of stability .
  • You build a nice booty as your glutes work overtime to help you from tipping.
  • Your shoulders get super strong because leg muscles can’t help you cheat on your overhead lifts.

Anything you can do standing, you can do half-kneeling.

In the Instagram Reel below, I’m demo-ing a Pallof press, band chest press, band row and an overhead press.

But the list could go on!

Half kneeling is a fantastic add to a postpartum program. It triggers the deep core muscles (a MAJOR theme of postpartum fitness) and encourages their reflexive function.

Anything you can do to retrain the function of the deep core muscles and restore their strength is an effort well spent.

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Redmond, WA-based Seattle birth doula Laura Jawad, headshot

My mission is to make sure that having a baby is not a reason why you can’t do all the things.

Contact me if you have questions about exercise or pelvic health pertaining to pregnancy or postpartum. I also offer personal training services and consultations to folks locally (Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland) and online.

Certified Prenatal & Postnatal Coach, Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Coach and Postnatal Fitnesses Specialist.