Remember right after having your baby(ies) when your hips felt like they were going to just fall out of socket? Postpartum hips are a real thing. And, they can stick around for a long time if we don’t do something about them!
Where with each step that you took, you almost had to concentrate to make sure your legs didn’t fall out of socket?
Okay, maybe that’s a touch dramatic,
but in all seriousness, my hips were all out of whack right after I had my Joshua.
What’s worse? My doctor didn’t give me any instructions for how to strengthen my hips back to normal. Nor could I find anything on the internet that helped.
Anything that I found on the internet was all about “the quickest way to lose the baby weight” or something of the like. It wasn’t ever about strengthening your body and getting strong for motherhood.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I work with postpartum women all the time that want to lose weight. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem lies in weight loss being the only focus and not focusing on strengthening the body and restoring body parts such as the hips and legs to proper functioning.
Guess what? Loose hips and improper muscle tone can lead to lower back pain. To which you’re probably saying…. Wait, you’re telling me that I had back pain while I was pregnant then again when I’m not because my hips aren’t as strong as they should be?
Well, yes, I’m saying that’s a possibility.
As always, if you want more info on back pain, check in with your doc. I’m a certified coach and trainer sharing what I know has worked for not only me, but my clients as well. Medical diagnosis are always to come from your MD.
Now! Let’s get to talking about how we strengthen those hips after having our babies.
To strengthen your postpartum hips, it’s vital to strengthen all 4 parts of the upper legs
When we have our babies, our hips are stretched and those muscles lengthen and they simply aren’t as strong.
Which is why they feel almost like you don’t have control over your postpartum hips and they’re very loose.
When looking to rebuild your hips after having a baby, you’ll want to focus on the
Let’s just make a fun little announcement and reminder…
I am not a doctor, and what I’m telling you should not be used as medical advice. Before starting a workout program postpartum or injury, it is absolutely vital to your health that you are cleared by your doctor. Kay? Kay. Good talk!
Let’s move on.
Here are my top 6 exercises that I use with my clients to rebuild hips that targets all areas that we just discussed of those upper legs.
Postpartum Hip Strengthening Exercise 1 – Back Squats
The back squat is when a barbell is across the top part of the back and shoulders and a squat is performed. The squat targets all areas of the leg and into the glutes.
When performing a back squat, place the bar on the upper part of the back, squeeze the shoulder blades inward and back to brace the upper back and brace the core to protect the lower back.
Initiate the movement by bending the knees like sitting down into a chair. I cue my clients by saying “sit into the hole of the squat” and press your big toe and little toes into floor to brace.
Once reaching the bottom of the squat, push the floor away with your feet and return to standing position.
Tip – if you’re unsure of what your form looks like, take a video of yourself and compare to the below video of one of my client’s back squat. Keep practicing and keep trying!
Postpartum Hip Strengthening Exercise 2 – BB Hip Thrusts
If there is one movement that I see done incorrectly time and again, it is the barbell hip thrust.
The most common mistake is that the whole body moves with the movement, when the movement should come from the hips.
Take a look at the below video. The first thing is to make sure that you find a back support that is not too tall. Because it if is too tall, then it’s harder to get proper form.
Grab something to wrap around the bar for padding. Whether it be an actual barbell pad, or a yoga mat. Sit on the floor in front of the bench with legs out flat and roll the bar up to your hips. Bar should be sitting across the hip bones (hence the padding).
Bring your knees up to a bent position and brace your back against the bench, push down through the feet and thrust your hips up to a table top position.
Be careful to not let the neck fall backward but instead to keep your chin tucked.
Postpartum Hip Strengthening Exercises 3 – Goblet Squats with Heels Elevated
I love a good goblet squat, but you elevate your heels and you’ve got yourself a party.
Grab a dumbbell and hold it around the end of the dumbbell. Then, grab either a bumper plate or if you’re at home, a book and elevate your heels.
Ensure that just your heels are elevated, you shouldn’t be standing on your toes. Just raising the heels a bit to target the quads more.
And repeat the squat motion just like you did for the back squat.
Postpartum Hip Strengthening Exercises 4 – Sitting Abduction with band
Next exercise is to sit on the edge of a bench or chair with the band still wrapped around your knees and simply open and close your knees.
Another option for this exercise is supine hip abduction, which means to lie on your back and open and close your knees.
These exercises target those abductors which are the muscles on the outsides of your legs.
Postpartum Hip Strengthening Exercises 5 – Banded Lateral Leg Raises
Grab the band and put it back around your legs and right above the knees. With feet pointed forward, raise the leg out to the side and return to starting position, then repeat with the other leg.
Keep your core tight and be careful not to swing your legs. Make it each movement purposeful.
Ta-da! That’s it for that one.
Postpartum Hip Strengthening Exercises 6 – Banded Step Backs
Banded step backs are best done with a rubber booty band and not a cloth booty band. The cloth booty bands are great, but when putting them around your ankles, it makes it very difficult to do these properly.
Place the band around your ankles, stand up nice and tall and find something sturdy to hold onto if you need to. Simply step backwards while keeping one foot planted with the knee of the planted foot slightly bent.
Remember to swap legs!
Here’s a final tip that really has nothing to do with postpartum hip strengthening.
Just think of this as a freebie. You know, just like those little samples that you grab at the checkout of the makeup counter.
My final tip is this…
Really focus on strengthening your body after having a baby instead of being obsessive about your weight.
Listen, believe me, I KNOW it’s hard. I’ve been there. I really have. However, when I changed my focus from how my body looked to what my body can do.
It was an absolute game changer.
Because I was getting stronger, lifting heavier weight and running further, my body naturally started changing.
And I loved it.
That mind set was how I was able to lose the 60+ pounds I had gained from my pregnancy.
One of the biggest things I have learned from being a coach is that healthy comes in different shapes. There are 3 main body types, but the shapes of bodies are all different.
Yes, I teach weight loss and how to lose unhealthy weight. But, healthy doesn’t equal skinny. Make sense?
Say it with me….
Focus on what your body can do instead of what it looks like.
Because once you start focusing on what your body can do and getting stronger and pushing yourself, you will start to love your body and your body will change in the way that you’re wanting it to.
I’m sure it does.
Stick with me, mama and I will do my best to take the guesswork out of fitness and healthy living for you.
Want more exercises to help stabilize and strengthen your hips? Throw in your email below and I will send you my favorite glute accessory exercises!