When I was pregnant with my son (and before) I was a regular at various studios across San Diego and Seattle. I experimented with HIIT, strength training, yoga, cycling, barre, and anything that gave me an opportunity to sweat and move safely. Looking back, all of my movement took place outside my home.
Working Out After Baby
After Benji arrived, I found it challenging to make it to a gym/studio. There was childcare to figure out, travel time, and the fact my body wasn’t quite ready to jump back to my former routine. I transitioned to home workouts, working on my postpartum rehab from the comfort of my own space while Benji napped. Working out in my home allowed me to go at my own pace, and have more control over intensity, reps, rest, and equipment. I didn’t feel the pressure to perform or “bounce back.”
More recently, I do try to make it to the gym/studio (especially when I’m teaching!) for class, but also LOVE incorporating at-home workouts. It’s a great time for me to experiment with programming and maximize my time. The commute upstairs is about 30 seconds 🙂
The Benefits of Working Out At Home
Working out in a gym/studio environment is fun, but home workouts have many advantages too!
- Focus on the Movement: Like I mentioned above, you can really go at your own pace and focus on your reps, form, and rest intervals. There’s no waiting for equipment or timer, so take all the time you need!
- Childcare: You can exercise with your kids around. I like to set Benji up with a few snacks, water, and some toys to keep him occupied. Another option is to take advantage of nap time. I prop up the baby monitor and get to work 🙂
- Activewear: You don’t have to worry about what to wear to class. Heck – you can even workout in your pajamas.
- Break up your workout: Sometimes it’s not feasible to get your entire workout done in a given period of time. Breaking it up throughout the day is a great option. Twenty minutes here, five minutes there – there’s no rule that says it needs to happen all at once 🙂
Setting up Your Home Gym
What do you need to get started? As you’ll see below, not too much! When I visit clients in their home, I only bring along a few pieces of equipment. Below are some of my favorite pieces of equipment, broken out into two categories: “Basics” and “Nice to Have if you have space.”
Home Gym Basics
Resistance Bands – These resistance bands are versatile and durable. I recommend starting with the red, but for the price getting the entire set is definitely worth it.
Mini-bands: I love having a set with varying levels of resistance. Mini-bands work great for lower body, core, and upper body work. They are also easy to pack while traveling.
Small Pilates Ball: I incorporate a small pilates ball for a lot of rehab core exercises. An added bonus is your kiddos will enjoy playing with it 🙂
Door Anchor: This is a new add to our home gym space, and I love it. This door anchor works great and allows for more horizontal work (e.g. band row, pallof press).
Dumbbells: I recommend having a light set and a heavy set to get started. Although dumbbells aren’t required, they will give you more options for strength work. I recommend starting with 5 pounds and a 10-20 pound set (whatever feels “heavy” to you for lower body work).
Pilates or Children’s Ball: I love incorporating a pilates ball in pregnancy and postpartum programming. The ball allows us to up the demand on core exercise by adding in the “squeezing” element. The act of pressing into the ball is going to help you connect with your deep core while doing a “task,” like a glute bridge. The ball gives some added push back, firing up your deep abdominals. Be sure not to “bear down” when you push, but rather “lift” your pelvic floor as you push into the ball.
Nice to Have
Weight bench: Definitely not a “must,” but I utilize an adjustable weight bench quite a bit. The incline option works great during pregnancy and offers a lot of options for progressing or regressing a movement. I love this bench in particular because you can use the area inside for storage. When it comes to my workouts, I utilize the bench for elevated push-ups, supported rows, tricep dips, single-leg movements, hip thrusts, and more. If a weight bench isn’t an option for your space, you can also substitute for something sturdy, like a wood chair.
Note: The height may be a bit aggressive late into pregnancy and early postpartum. I typically utilize stairs in home, or a step stool for a lower surface.
TRX / Suspension Trainer: Suspension trainers allow you to utilize your own bodyweight as resistance. They are incredibly durable and versatile, and act as a wonderful assistance tool during stability exercises throughout pregnancy and when returning to exercise postpartum.
Pull Up Bar: Just as we use the door anchor for horizontal pulling and pushing, a pull-up bar is a great add to assist with pulling movements. Over time, you can also utilize a pull-up bar for (you guessed it) a pull-up!
Now that you have your equipment – what’s next? Tune in to my Instagram page / stories for workout ideas, and let’s get in touch! I offer 1:1 in-home personal training in Seattle and would love to meet you.