Why You Should Avoid Plyometric Exercises As A New Mom
Plyometric exercises are a style of “power” training to help develop both speed and power. Most people relate plyometrics to jumping- which is accurate- but there are some upper body exercises too! These exercises naturally work very well with athletes who have developed a great baseline of strength (read about getting started with strength training here) and need to improve their sport performance. But are they safe for new moms?
If you’re a new-ish mom you’re probably starting to wonder about getting back into an exercise program. Whether your goals are strength, weight or health related you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed about what type of program is right for you.
Bootcamp? P90X? Crossfit? Yoga? There’s a lot of options.
You may be thinking that more intensity = more results. That you’re going to need to sweat, cry and gasp in order to improve.
But you’re wrong.You may think that more intensity = more results. That you need to gasp & struggle to improve. But you're wrongClick To Tweet
Many programs geared towards new moms involve a bootcamp style of training involving exercises like jump squats, burpees, bench hops and more. The theory behind this is that plyometrics are intense, they provide a nice base for interval training and those types of workouts get results.
I’m not disputing this. Well, all of this 😉
When you’re looking to develop power plyometrics can be a great option.
But as a new mom their not practical nor are they actually safe. In fact, for any of the above goals there are far, far better options.
You may have noticed as a mom that your body is a bit different than it was before you were pregnant. It could be bigger, looser, squishier, smaller etc. Regardless, it’s different. And it should be! You just spent nine long months growing life inside you and accommodating the space of another human. First things first you should check in with a pelvic floor physio (here’s why) to ensure you don’t need to strengthen internally first also.
And between pregnancy and birth itself your body has adjusted, adapted and changed (not for the worse don’t worry!). This change however, if part of the reason that plyometrics are unsafe for new moms.
This doesn’t that you can never jump again, far from it! Nor does it mean you can’t work out. Just that there are better options in that first year. And here’s why:
Below are three reasons plyometrics are not suitable for brand new moms
Reason #1 Plyometrics Can Be Hard On Your Pelvic Floor
You’ve heard of your pelvic floor right? Probably in reference to kegals that everyone preaches about. But your pelvic floor is so much more encompassing. In fact, this particular group of muscles are responsible for holding in some of your organs and supporting your body.
And boy, do they get worked in pregnancy! Along with the downward pressure throughout pregnancy, the pelvic floor is also challenged throughout the birth process (regardless f how you deliver).
This means that at the end of it all, your pelvic floor is left feeling a bit weak and worn out.
Now let’s look at the art of jumping. Upon landing once could say that there is a lot of pressure going down. Meaning, when you reconnect with the ground everything shifts down for a moment before your body recovers.
If the group of muscles holding in your organs and working overtime to support you in daily movements is weak, do you think that placing more pressure and higher impact on that group with high repetition is going to improve it? Not so much.
In fact, it can make it worse. That group of muscles isn’t strong enough for the impact (regardless of your kegals) and pushing them through high repetitions (like twenty jump squats) isn’t they way to strengthen them.
Reason #2 The Hormone Relaxin Is Still Affecting Your Joints
This is probably something else you heard of while pregnant. Though possibly not as much. When you’re pregnant, you body releases a hormone called relaxin. The purpose of this hormone is to loosen your connective tissues around the joints so that your body can expand and accommodate pregnancy.
Basically, this hormone makes your joints a bit unstable.
Fun fact: The hormone relaxin has been known to stay in your body for up a year post-pregnancy. Which means no matter how strong you are something is working against you.
So again, let’s look at jump squats. If you have unstable hips, do you think that placing them in a position where they have to work to stabilize you from a high impact landing repetitively is going to be a good idea?
No. All you’re doing is wearing out your joints and tiring your muscles without giving them a chance to stabilize you or recover. This is huge risk of injury. Huge.
If your body is working hard to strengthen around your joints with daily movements like walking and squatting, it’s not going to be capable enough to support you when you add intense impact to them.
Reason #3: You’re Just not Strong Enough For Plyometrics.. Yet
Please don’t take offense to this. I’m not saying you’re not strong and capable,, nor am I saying you should never jump again. I’m just saying you’re not there yet.
Plyometrics were designed for optimal sport performance. Not only does your technique need to be spot on but your body needs to have a baseline of strength before you can execute and reap the benefits of this type of exercises.
And immediately post pregnancy, your body doesn’t. I’m sorry but it doesn’t. If you’re still struggling with being strong, adding high repetition impact to basic exercises isn’t going to improve your strength it will injure you. Say your knees cave in at the bottom of those jump squats. Over and over. Every single time you do them. Do you think that your legs are getting strong from inefficient movement? Nope. They’re setting up for injury.
There are better ways to train.
So what the hell are you supposed to do if you want to increase strength, lose weight or improve your health? Like I said earlier, this doesn’t mean you can’t work out! Please stay active!
Instead though, start by ensuring your body functions optimally. See a pelvic floor physio to ensure your pelvic floor is recovering. Work on some basic functions before anything else. From there, focus on strength. Become strong in daily movements like squatting, pulling and pushing. Improve those movements and become a badass.
With so many different types of workouts on the market it may be overwhelming. But it also means that there are workouts much better suited to new moms than jumping around for “intensity”. Start small, work at it and improve your basic strength. I promise, you can see plenty of results 😉
Train safe mamas.
Quick Tip: My go-to store for equipment is Pro Source! They have awesome gear at fair prices.. plus, if you use the code “mamabear15” you save fifteen percent on the best price on the site – win!
Don’t forget to pin these post pregnancy tips for others!
Looking for more workout tips? Check out Why Mamas Need Muscles & My Favorite Exercises To Target Glutes!