Get Your Body Back in Shape

Phase 1: 0-6 Weeks

Your Focus: Getting your body moving again. These two exercises will help boost your energy while strengthening your abs and pelvic floor muscles. Try to do some gentle cardio exercise for a few minutes daily.

1. Weight Press

Lie on your back with legs on an exercise ball, holding a light 3-4 pound weight in each hand. Position the weights just above the chest. As you exhale, press weights straight up. Hold for 3-5 seconds, and then lower. Do 3 times, working your way up to 12-reps. Rest, then repeat.

2. Navel Crunch

Kneel on floor, knees hip-width apart. Bending forward at the waist, place your forearms and elbows on a couch or chair. Breathe in, then exhale, slowing drawing navel in toward spine. Hold for 5-10 seconds, breathing gently. Do twice, working your way up to 10-reps. Rest, then repeat.

Phase 2: 7-12 Weeks

Your Focus: Increasing exercise intensity while getting leaner and stronger. Continue doing the first two moves, but in this phase modify the navel crunch by placing both hands on the floor and raising one heel to buttock height, keeping knees bent. Lift opposite hand straight out in front while pulling abs in toward spine, do 10-12 reps per side. Increase weight press to 5-8 pounds per hand. Add the following moves, and increase both lengths and frequency of your cardio workouts.

1. Squat with Ball

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Place an exercise ball between the curve of your lower back and a wall. Keeping your hips square and shoulders level, bend knees and lower yourself 5 – 10 inches. Hold for 3-5 seconds, and then stand backup. Start with 5 reps and work up to 12, rest, then repeat.

2. Push-up on ball

Lie on your abdomen on an exercise ball and walk your arms forward until the ball rests under your thighs. Pull your navel toward your spine; bend elbows, and lower upper body toward floor. Hold for 3-5 seconds, and then push up. Start with 5 reps and work up to 15, Rest, then repeat.

Phase 3: 12 plus weeks

Your Focus: Regaining your full pre-pregnancy strength. Increase you cardio and continue to emphasize your core while toning the rest of your body. Add a third set to the previous exercises, and add the following.

1. Forearm Plank

Start in a push-up position, weight on forearms and toes; align elbows under shoulders. Keep a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 20 seconds, breathing lightly. Place knees on floor to rest for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times, working up to 6 reps total.

2. Balanced Core Strengthener

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Keeping hips square, bend forward from the waist. Lift one leg behind your to hip height and raise both arms, keeping them close to ears. Hold for 20 seconds; relax for 30 seconds. Repeat 6 to 10 times, alternating legs.

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