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  • Writer's pictureJen Curtis

Lifting Weights Postpartum: When is it safe? What rules should I follow?

10 tips to ensure a safe and effective return to lifting weights postpartum.

If you lifted weights before getting pregnant, and/or during your pregnancy, you might be keen to get back to it postpartum. In this article I am going to talk to you about how to do that SAFELY and effectively (no less important).

I’ve trained many women who are keen to get back into lifting some decent weight after having a baby. They just want to get back to their regular workouts and start throwing a barbell around.

While I am 10000% happy to get you back doing exactly that, it’s really important that you start your journey right, leave your ego at the door and look after your body.

If you want to be taken step-by-step through 10-days of postpartum-specific exercises that you can start EARLY (like around the 6-week mark), and that will help you build good habits for the road ahead, jump on my 10-day challenge:

It might be easier than what you think you SHOULD do, but the first stage of this process is about RECOVERY and REHAB - until you have done that, you aren’t ready for more intense exercise.

Lifting Weights Postpartum: What NOT to do.

Do NOT jump right back into your regular workouts at 6 weeks postpartum, after your doctor has told you it’s safe to do so. Your pelvic floor probably isn’t ready for this (nor is the rest of your body)

This is what most women do, though: they head back to the gym, or CrossFit, after their 6-week check-up, put a barbell on their back, try to squat the weight that they squatted before pregnancy, see if they can still do pull-ups and test their deadlift 5RM on the first workout.

They then proceed to beat themselves up about how ‘weak’ and ‘unfit’ they feel, totally flabbergasted that they can’t do what they did before

They jump into a WOD or a HIIT class and are surprised AND devastated by their lack of fitness. This causes them to either push past pain and physical sensations that they probably should be listening to, OR to give up and declare “having a baby has ruined my body and I’ll never get my fitness back

Besides the fact that you are putting yourself at risk of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) and physical injury, you are also causing yourself unnecessary mental suffering by putting these ridiculous standards on yourself.

If you have already done this and that’s what’s caused you to search this blog post, let’s think about this for a minute: what do you expect?

Did you REALLY think that you could go through 9 months of pregnancy, with all the physiological and anatomical changes that take place during that time, then push a small human through your vagina (or have it cut out of you) and do no exercise for at least 6 weeks and think that your fitness/strength would not be affected at all? Come on, you know more about exercise science than that!

(not to mention all the ‘looking after a human baby and getting used to a whole new life and identity’ stuff that you have been dealing with lately)

Mindset shift when returning to the gym after birth:

Remember that you WILL MOST LIKELY have lost muscle mass and strength AND cardiova