When you think of fitness during pregnancy or postpartum, what do you think of? Do you think of yoga? Walking? Swimming? No doubt, these are great forms of exercise, but they are not the "be-all". There are endless options for exercise during pregnancy or postpartum and these are just three of them. In my coaching practice, I advocate for strength training.
Yes, you CAN lift weights while pregnant and even postpartum. Is that surprising to you? Here's the thing: Whether you lift weights in an exercise session or not, you are lifting stuff day in and day out so you might as well train for it. (The only thing I ask, friend, is please learn what it means to "listen to your body" and work with a knowledgable pregnancy and postpartum trainer who can help you develop strategies to keep your core and pelvic floor happy and healthy.)
While you might not have thought about resistance training or lifting weights during the perinatal chapter, I'd love to offer some excellent (and perhaps, surprising) reasons to consider giving it a try.
💪🏻Preconception, during pregnancy or after you baby is born, strength training offers all the commonly touted benefits such as increasing lean muscle mass and improving bone density, overall mobility and balance. 💪🏻While you are pregnant and breastfeeding, you might feel extra flexible or notice decreased stability in some of your joints. Targeted strength training will help improve stability around your joints in a manner that may compensate for the extra looseness or instability your body incurred by specialized hormones produced during this time. 💪🏻It's a great way to correct muscle imbalances that develop during your childbearing year. Failure to correct this may result in you compensating via strategies that lead to injury or exacerbate those imbalances.
💪🏻It will help you build a foundation for impact and intensity later. You might begin your postpartum rehab with heel slides and glute bridges, but soon you'll be able to ramp up intensity and sports specificity as your body is able to tolerate it. Strength training can help you train for where you want to be even if is just a vehicle to get you there.
💪🏻Combining intentional breath work with strength training can help maintain, improve or retrain the “reflexive” action of your core and pelvic floor. They need to be strong to support your body during pregnancy and during your return to higher impact activities after baby is born.
💪🏻Studies have shown that people who build greater full body strength have an advantage managing their intra-abdominal pressure during activity. Improved pressure management strategies may decrease your risk of developing a pelvic floor or core dysfunction or help you recover from one if you have an existing issue. Strength training is SMART training for postpartum (and pregnancy too!). It comes with a ton of benefits and a (qualified) postnatal fitness coach can help you learn strategies to train safely for your stage of pregnancy or postpartum. Visit my "Work with me" page or Contact me to learn more!