How to squat for postnatal strength and posture
CARiFiT is babywearing fitness and has been carefully created for mothers with babies aged six weeks to nine months old and encourages the safe reintroduction of exercise. The nature of the exercises also present an opportunity to get closer to your baby whilst working out. The routines focus on restoring your core, strengthening your overall posture, toning key areas and increasing your heart rate, by using a mixture of cardio resistance interval training techniques.
Created and designed by pre-and-post natal specialist Personal Trainer, Vern Hill, in collaboration with global fitness expert, Vicky Mahony, CARiFiT has been certified by top industry and medical professionals.One of the most important exercises in the CARiFiT portfolio is the squat and the CARiFiT experts are here to explain the importance of this very effective post natal exercise.
There will be many factors that will not only influence when you return to exercise but also what type of exercise you can take part in.
What to consider when returning to exercise (after your 6 week check OR 12 week if Caesarean delivery):
- What type of training or exercise did you perform throughout your pregnancy? If you were active throughout and have good movement patterns your return to exercise could be easier.
- Did you experience any complications throughout your pregnancy or the birth? If so, please check with a health professional to ensure that you are not doing something that is contraindicated.
- Are you familiar with pelvic floor exercises and how to perform them? It is important to understand how to activate your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is made of muscles and tissue that are under the pelvis. These muscles and tissues will have been stretched and weakened as a result of childbirth and so need to be strengthened.
- Squatting is a great way to start to regain strength in a functional way whilst working the pelvic floor muscles…in our opinion it is the single most important movement to master. Benefits of the postnatal squat include:
- You can squat anywhere and by doing so work your pelvic floor muscles in a functional way. Squatting is part of everyday life – and your new exciting world involves a lot of bending at the knee to pick up your gorgeous new baby. By squatting to bend down, you strengthen the legs and protect the lower back.
- You will maintain good mobility and movement through the pelvis – squatting is a naturally symmetrical movement which will help to avoid the common back ache and pressure on the hip of holding your baby in one arm and on one hip for extended periods (becoming confident at babywearing will also really help here!).
You will regain core stability through the whole core by controlling the movement as you lower into the squat and return to standing by firing up through the glutes and the legs.
- When you use the breath to inhale down and exhale up, the abdominals and pelvic floor go through the motions of undergoing a stretch and then a contraction – this is absolutely key to regaining strength and also closing a muscular gap (diastasis) in your abdominals.
- You work your entire lower body in one movement. You can start with limited range and increase your range and repetitions as you gain strength.
- Strengthening weak glutes that have become inactive during late stage pregnancy will help improve your posture, spinal strength and your stamina – remember you may be somewhat sleep deprived so extra energy for everyday tasks is a very useful thing!
- Exercising can help release tension and anxiety, and reduce the risk of associated mental health problems.
- Squatting whilst babywearing during a CARiFiT workout means that you are conditioning your body to the new demands placed upon it – your baby is the exact weight you now have to hold, carry, feed and comfort on a daily basis. As a result, this is a fantastic adaptation and as the baby grows bigger your fitness and strength will develop alongside the baby’s growth.