Pregnancy does a number on your body, but it is possible to get your strength, symmetry, and balance back. Follow this at-home post-pregnancy workout from Jillian Michael to strengthen your core, hips, and glutes after giving birth.
Jillian Michaels created this workout based on the program in her new book, Yeah Baby!: The Modern Mama's Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever ($18; amazon.com). "Since pregnancy pulls shoulders forward, this strengthens the upper back and biceps," she says. "It also rehabs the core while strengthening the hips and glutes."
One thing Jillian cautions: It's key not to ramp things up too soon after giving birth. Once you have the all clear from your doc, cycle through this circuit four times, doing each move for 30 seconds. Do it twice a week, pairing it with 20 minutes of low-impact cardio, such as swimming, biking, or hiking.
Sumo Squat + Rotator Cuff Fly
This move targets the upper back, glutes, and quads. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width length apart, toes slightly turned out; hold a medium, resistance band in front of body so arms form a 90-degree angle and forearms face up (A). Bend knees and lower down into a wide squat as you pull arms out and back (B). Rise back to standing as you bring arms back together; repeat.
This move targets your core. Start on all fours, wrists beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips, with gaze toward the floor. Extend right arm and left leg straight out so that they're parallel to the floor (A). Maintaining a flat back, squeeze abs and bring right elbow and left knee in beneath body to touch (B). Return to "A" and repeat. On the next round, switch sides.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do Bird Dog
Rolling Plank + Ab Hold
This move targets your core. Start in a forearm plank with hands in fists, elbows beneath shoulders, tailbone tucked, and feet together (A); hold for 10 seconds. Rotate to the right, coming into a side plank with hips lifted (B); hold for 10 seconds. Roll back to center, then immediately rotate to the left, coming into a side plank with hips lifted; hold for 10 seconds.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Rolling Plank + Ab Hold
Stationary Lunge + Biceps Curl
This move targets biceps, core, glutes, and quads. Stand with feet staggered, left in front of right, with a medium resistance band under left foot; hold handles at sides with palms faceup (A). Lower down until knees are bent at about 90 degrees as you curl arms up (B). Press through heel of front foot and toes of back foot to rise to standing as you lower arms, then repeat. On the next round, switch legs.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Stationary Lunge + Biceps Curl
Reverse Fly in Crescent Pose
This move targets your upper back, core, and thighs. Stand with feet staggered, left in front of right, with right heel lifted. Hold 3- to 5-pound dumbbells at sides, palms facing in. Bend left knee to 90 degrees and hinge forward from hips, torso at 45 degrees, bringing chest toward left knee (A). Squeeze back as you lift arms to shoulder height (B). Lower arms, then repeat. On the next round, switch legs.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Reverse Fly in Crescent Pose
Wide Row in Static Squat
This move targets upper back, core, glutes, and quads. Stand with feet hip-width apart, a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing thighs. Bend knees, lowering down until thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep torso at 45 degrees and abs pulled in (A). Bend elbows straight back, pulling dumbbells in toward sides and squeezing shoulder blades together (B). Extend arms back down and repeat.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Wide Row in Static Squat
Remember: Get doctor approval before you resume any exercising. And if you had diastasis recti or a C-section, wait three months before doing these circuit moves.
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