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Best Stretches For New Moms

Battle of the Baby Weight: Dynamic Stretches Mom Can Do at Home

Stretch it out! Before you burn the baby fat, you've got to prep by stretching your body. Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. She said, "Stretching is a vital part of an exercise program since it helps prevent injury and assists with increasing blood flow to the muscles, motor unit activation, muscle lengthening, and a person's range of motion." Here are six dynamic stretches she recommends and why. She said:

During postpartum training it is crucial to be conservative with your range for several months due to potential joint laxity, especially if a woman is breastfeeding. Dynamic stretches are done before a workout and are different from a post workout stretches because they are done more quickly and are held for a shorter time period. The dynamic warm up should take 5-10 minutes and moms should aim to do about 10 reps of each stretch holding each for no more than a few seconds.

Leg swings
(These target the hips.)
Hold onto a stable surface with one hand and pull the navel in towards the spine. Stand on one leg and swing the opposite leg forward and back continuously to comfortable range of motion. Keep the torso upright.

Walking High Kicks or Toy Soldiers
(These target the glutes, hamstrings and hips.)
These are similar to the leg swings, but this time you move forward. As you do so, bring one leg out in front and swing your arm to the opposite leg. Take a step forward as soon as the leg touches back down to the floor. Repeat the movement with the opposite side and then alternate.

To try the other four stretches,

Wall Slide or Standing "W"
(These help with posture and target the chest, and shoulder blades.)
Lean your back and glutes against a wall with your arms overhead flat against the wall. The backs of your hands should be pressed against the surface, then slide your arms down the wall and start to bend your elbows until they are in a '"w" shape.
Draw your shoulders away from your ears and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep your head, back, and glutes against the wall.

Chest Stretch
(These target the chest.)
Find a door frame and place your forearms on either side of it. Then brace your core, keep your shoulders away from your ears while you take a short step through the doorway. You should feel a stretch in the chest.

Low Lateral Move
(These target the inner thigh and hips.)
Stand with your feet about three feet apart and flat on the floor with toes forward. Shift your weight to one side as you push your hips back and bend that knee. Make sure the other leg stays straight so you feel the stretch in the inner thigh. Then alternate from one side to the other.

Walking High Knees or Knee Cradles
(These target the glutes and hamstrings.)
Stand tall on one foot, brace your core and then take take both hands and clasp them around the shin just below the knee. Draw the knee in towards your chest while standing straight. As soon as the leg touches back down to the floor take a step forward repeat the movement on the opposite side and then alternate.

Follow the entire Battle of the Baby Weight series here!

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