As any self-respecting training addict would agree, getting back to where you were physically after a baby is pretty important. I would have to confess that after Seb was born I went head first into the mist with this and did not really consider or respect the stress my body had undergone through pregnancy and then birth.
I think I thought that with my experience I could get away with going hard sooner then I really should have. And to a degree I got away with it but I was still left with holes in my core and gaps in strength and mobility.
This time round was going to be different.
No running, jumping, twisting, or crazy ab work.
My program so far has steadily ramped up over 2 months. It has consisted of stretching, mobility, basic strength, squat, press and deadlift. Bodyweight movements, push ups, ring rows. I have kept it simple and tried to find time each day to do a little bit.
A lot of the hard work has happened on my living room floor.
In the first few weeks, once I cleared my 12 weeks. I was on the floor with a roller, band and my yoga mat. The first goal I had set myself was to I unwind my postnatal body.
It has been like the unfurling of a training beast!
I approached programming my recovery, considering fours things I ignored the first time round;
My initial healing time. This time I made sure I did not lift or push myself until 12 weeks postnatal. I pretty much spent the first 6 weeks in the house. Kind neighbours, friends and family helping out.
Stretching & Posture before Intensity, Kilos and Speed! I made time each morning and evening to do a few minutes of rolling and stretching. I used this time to gather myself. This may have been my second time round but a newborn is hectic all the same so to have even a few minutes to spend on myself was bliss. I turned it into a bit of a yoga routine
Reconnecting my Core; After each of my babies, the best way I can explain how it feels is that before each pregnancy, when I moved I felt my body move as a unit. After a baby something just doesn’t seem to be switched on the the same way. Banded floor movements to reconnect core to extremities and a solid pelvic floor routine is actually harder to nail then it sounds but an important part of the process.
Bodyweight movements; There is no point loading up a bar if you cannot master bodyweight exercises. Squat, push up, ring row. I spent a load of time just trying to do good reps. There is a million ways to scale a push up and ring row. I just made sure not to strained kept my ego at the door.
I spent 4 weeks here.
I am not a patient athlete so I found it hard to hold back. Some of the smaller core movements were hard and tedious but essential. Spending a little time each day made it easier to keep it up and see little progresses each day.
I decided to move things along after checking for diastasis recti. Compared with after Seb I was pretty glad I stuck to my slow and steady approach. I had under a two fingered gap after 16 weeks.
Now I was ready to introduce a bar.
And that is where I have been for the last 4 weeks.
Squat, Deadlift, Press. Still working on push ups before adding a bench.
Reps have been high, weight light. Training has been centred on technique. It has been a fun place to be with training. I am appreciating my attention the the stretching and body weight strength in the beginning.
Then I walked into 7R CrossFit last week and noticed that my favourite benchmark was scrawled across it!?
Grace! I do love a clean & jerk. I really wanted to take it on.
The coach on shift said the plan was for for sub 4 minutes.
I really wanted to give it a go! The inner training beast snarling to get out!
Before I started throwing a bar around, It would be prudent of me to test out my clean & jerk.
8 weeks ago a clean had felt a bit disjointed. This week however, it seems my body is talking again. The Clean felt smooth and fluid, my jerk stable. I took that as my sign and begun to load the bar.
And there is was. My WOD nerves were back. Oh how I had missed them.
I scaled! RX, I know I am not there yet. I settled at 25kgs and came in at a respectable 3:47.
A slow steady approach does makes you the tortoise in the race for your pre-pregnancy body.
It is tiring and tough but take it from someone who has tried it the other way. You are much better off as a tortoise.
I will probably start adding more olympic lifting into my routine from now on. Give me some time and I will be posting my time for an RX’ed Grace.
In the meantime I would love to hear anyone else’s story on recovery
Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org