The best postpartum exercises at home

II’ve never spent more time on the couch than I did during the last two weeks of my pregnancy. Any time I tried to take a step, my SI joint felt like it was being torn apart, so even stepping out onto the pavement became nearly impossible. By the time my daughter arrived, I was craving what kind of movement I could get.

Of course, I wasn’t about to go back to my old workouts. Even more so than during my pregnancy, I obviously needed some structured guidance from a professional to stay safe; physical Poetry Maybe 95 percent is good, but I knew things were still healing below. I wanted classes specifically designed for the postpartum period—with exercises that would strengthen muscles that had become weak, without overburdening anything that might not be quite ready to work yet—and found that there were already quite a few options online. Overwhelmed with all the options, I decided I might try as hard as I could.

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I soon learned that there is a very wide range of what “postpartum workouts” consist of. Some are barely more than just breathing on purpose, while others are high-intensity cardio aimed at burning major calories and “reclaiming your pre-baby body.” Sometimes it’s hard to say what max you’ll get until you’re already in the middle of the semester.

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But I’ve also found many quality platforms that have helped me get in touch with my body again. After testing 18 different postpartum exercise programs, these are the eight programs I recommend for new moms.

1. The Bromley method

Positives: It is safe to start just two weeks after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery.
cons: Classes can feel really slow — you won’t exactly get the endorphin level you might crave from exercise.
cost: $147 one-time pay-on-demand, or $97 per month for additional access to live group classes. Sign up at thebromleymethod.com.

This 12-week series, led by postpartum Pilates specialist Emma Bromley, focuses on rebuilding your core using Pilates-inspired moves. Each day offers two or three 10- to 20-minute workouts (allowing you to easily slide when you can throughout the day) and always includes an exercise that focuses on your pelvic floor. Bromley shares plenty of detailed tips for form, slow down exercises, but I found her explanations helped me finally “find” my pelvic floor for the first time in a way that made sense.

2. P. Evolve

Positives: These workouts are heavily targeted to the postpartum period, and since they were created with input from a PT, you can trust that they are safe and functional.
cons: You need quite a bit of P.volve-specific equipment in order to do most classes.
cost: $95.58 annually or $19.99 per month. Sign up at pvolve.com.

This three-week series delivers 12 lessons packed with unique moves I’ve never done before in other fitness classes—keeping me engaged even on days when I was pulling up. Designed in coordination with physical therapists, these exercises focus on movement, balance, and strength lost during pregnancy, as well as what’s good for exhausted new moms who spend hours holding and feeding their babies. I’ve found that they activate postural muscles which have made me feel taller and more toned even hours after I’ve finished my workout.

3. Body Love Mamas

Positives: This platform has a huge library of Pilates, Yoga, Stretching and Barre classes.
cons: It’s not always the best production quality, and the workouts don’t have music.
cost: $181.25 annually or $19.48 per month. Subscribe to bodylove-pilates.com.

This program was the only one that really worked on my tight, aching upper back the way I craved after hours of breastfeeding. I loved the sheer amount of classes – I never felt like I had to do the same class twice (as helpful as it can be), and I could always find a video to suit my energy level. Coach Ali Handley even offers a “Birth to Body” program that you can start on the first day at home from the hospital. There are also some basic and extended classes designed to be done with your child, although I’ve never been brave enough to try one myself.

4. obé

Positives: The algorithm gives you class recommendations based on your interests and preferences.
cons: There is no structured postpartum “program” to follow, just several chapters to choose your own adventure with.
cost: $169.99 annually, or $24.99 per month. Sign up at obefitness.com.

Energy Obese Coaches offers dozens of workouts—including strength training, boxing, and stretching—designed specifically for postpartum safety. I especially appreciate the way the trainers give postpartum exercise tips as they show you the moves, so you get information and insight as you move and work out. As any new mom can tell you, multitasking is essential to life with a toddler.

5. Bloom’s method

Positives: In addition to the exercises, you can access instructional videos that really explain things like dome, diaphragmatic breathing, and pelvic floor anatomy.
cons: Some coaches can sometimes feel like motivational speakers, which can be cool or annoying, depending on your tastes.
cost: $240 annually, $74 quarterly, or $29 monthly. Sign up at thebloommethod.com.

This program includes dozens of exercises specifically for postpartum, including some for pelvic pain and pelvic organ prolapse. There’s boxing and cycling, along with traditional strength, yoga, and even audio workouts on the go. Most of them were dripping with sweat. My favorite class was a 34-minute floor flow that seemed to know exactly what my body needed: stretching the lateral body and upper back, strengthening my hips, and challenging my balance (something I’ve been sorely neglected since my center of gravity is shifted forward, then back).

6. Glo

Positives: The site regularly releases new chapters specifically for postpartum, including some designed for breastfeeding, midnight meditations, and feeling overwhelmed.
cons: Although Glo offers other exercises such as Pilates and strength training incorporation, its best part is its yoga content.
cost: $245 annually or $24 per month. Sign up at glo.com.

I forgot how difficult chataranga was after skipping it for several months with a pregnant belly. But these 20- to 60-minute lessons, including some that involve your child, offer a nice amount of challenge–feeling bouts of burn (with variations available), yet balanced with more reforming poses. The yoga instructors are top notch, offering vinyasa, hatha and restorative flows.

7. Fluidform Pilates

Positives: You start with a customized 21-day program designed by one of our Fluidform trainers – this includes some workouts that are repeated, so you can see your progress over time.
cons: All classes are Pilates based, so if you’re looking for variety, this isn’t for you.
cost: $13 per month for an annual subscription or $22.74 per month for a quarterly membership. Subscribe to fluidformpilates.com.

Pilates instructor Kirsten King’s five-to-25-minute classes focus on smaller, focused moves done right—and guide you throughout to remind you which muscles to engage and how. The exercises are slow but specific, with high repetitions, and primarily focused on engaging your core and realigning your body. Several times, they left me really sore the next day in places I hadn’t before. The membership comes with an equipment set of resistance bands, a mini ball and discs – the only thing missing is a ballet bar.

8. The Sculpture Society

Positives: Set to pop, these workouts really get your body moving for heart-pumping and its boosting release of endorphins.
cons: With her playful personality and Hollywood bod, celebrity trainer Megan Robb is the perfect “Barbie workout,” which can be more intimidating than inspiring during her postpartum days.
cost: $179.99 annually or $19.99 monthly. Sign up at thesculptsociety.com.

Following a six-week pelvic floor and core rehabilitation program, the six-week postpartum program offers a weekly calendar of five to 30-minute sculpting exercises, stretching sessions, and meditations. I loved how these classes often included the dance movement that allows my body to release all the stiffness from sitting, nursing, and straining.

Start your postpartum fitness journey with this free full-body workout:

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