Try This Exclusive Full-Body Post-Pregnancy Workout from Kayla Itsines' New Program
This easy-to-follow workout is all about regaining your strength after giving birth.
Kayla Itsines spent ten years as a personal trainer and athlete before giving birth to her daughter Arna. The creator of the BBG workout program says she's personally trained plenty of women postpartum, but didn't realize how hard getting back into fitness actually was until she had to do it herself.
"I felt that in order to be authentic and honest, I had to go through pregnancy and the aftermath myself to provide the right information and insight to other moms who are beginning again," says Itsines.
Itsines was cleared by her doctor to work out seven weeks after giving birth, but when she got to the gym she says she could barely complete a 13-minute slow walk on the treadmill. "I remember going back to my room and tearing up because I'd never felt that weak before," she told us previously. (Related: 9 Things You Should Know About Postpartum Exercise and Probably Don't)
Since then, Itsines has worked her way back up to 28-minute endurance-based workouts, but her jarring postpartum fitness journey served as inspiration for her recently launched "Post Pregnancy" program on the SWEAT app.
Backed by medical professionals, this workout allows you to go at your own pace, which is quite different than her other BBG programs. "I wanted to focus on building foundational strength for women who've just given birth" explains Istines. The 12-week program also has four extra beginner weeks that focus solely on foundational core and pelvic floor strength. Still, Itsines says she realizes everyone's postpartum fitness is different. So before you even start the program, users can answer questions about their delivery and if there were any complications, which will help inform the workouts. The program then provides exercises that are best suited for your situation. (Related: Kayla Itsines Shared Her First Postpartum Recovery Photo with a Powerful Message)
Overall, there are two recommended workouts per week: Upper Body & Core and Lower Body & Core, and an optional full-body session, explains Itsines. The workouts themselves take between 15 to 25 minutes based on your fitness level and there are even shorter, optional sessions that you can add as well such as Upper-Body Posture, Hip Strength, and Lower-Back Relief. There are also low-intensity cardio sessions (LISS) such as biking or walking weaved into the schedule. (Related: How Soon Can You Start Exercising After Giving Birth?)
Itsines notes that Post-Pregnancy is not meant to progress into her other programs, and you can even repeat the series as many times as you want. "It's a program within itself," she says. "The goal of this program is to be able to gain your strength in the comfort of your home. I don't feel like a lot of women, especially me, want to venture out into a gym when you have a new baby. So being able to do these exercises wherever you're comfortable is super helpful." (Related: 9 Things You Should Know About Postpartum Exercise and Probably Don't)
To get a taste of her new Post-Pregnancy program, check out this exclusive full-body workout by Itsines designed especially for women who've been cleared to work out after giving birth.
Kayla Itsines' Full-Body Post-Pregnancy Workout
How it works: Perform each exercise for the number of reps indicated, then immediately move onto the next move. After you've done all four exercises (that's one round), take a 30-second rest, then start from the top. Aim to complete 3 rounds or as many as you can within 10 minutes. You can do this workout anywhere while your baby naps and is meant to focus on overall strength, not speed.
What you'll need: A set of dumbbells and a chair
A. Start standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of thighs with an overhand grip (palms facing toward legs). Draw shoulder blades down and back to push chest out slightly.
B. Inhale, bending at the hips to lower dumbbells along the front of the legs until halfway down the shins. Maintain a proud chest and make sure the neck is neutral and head is an extension of the spine. (Feel the tension in the hamstrings, a.k.a. the back of the legs.)
C. Once the dumbbells are halfway down the shins, exhale and push through heels, using glutes and hamstrings to stand and return to start. The dumbbells should remain right in front of legs throughout the movement.
Do 10 reps.
A. Holding onto a chair with the left hand, plant both feet on the floor in a split stance with the left leg forward and the right leg back, feet about hip-width apart.
B. Inhale and bend both knees to approximately 90-degree angles. The front knee should be aligned with the ankle and the back knee should be hovering just off the floor.
C. Exhale. Extend both knees to return to start. Switch sides; repeat.
Do 12 reps (6 per side).
A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of thighs with an overhand grip (palms facing toward legs). While maintaining a slight bend in the knees, hinge forward from hips so that the torso is parallel to the floor. Extend arms directly below the chest toward the floor to start.
B. Exhale and squeeze between shoulder blades to bend elbows and row bring dumbbells up toward the sides of the body.
C. Inhale and extend elbows to slowly lower dumbbells and return to start.
Repeat for 10 reps.
A. Start in a tabletop position on all fours on a yoga mat, hips over knees and shoulders over palms. Tucks toes under and maintain a neutral spine with core engaged and shoulder blades set down and back.
B. Engage core and lift both knees until they're hovering just off the mat. Hold this position, feeling some tension in the core without letting the stomach soften or drop toward the mat. Keep breathing steadily while holding this position.
Hold for 30 seconds.