Postpartum HIIT Workout Guide
Fitting a workout in postpartum requires intention and speed so we can get back to taking care of our tiny humans. There’s no time for long rest periods and a mile-long exercise list in a postpartum workout routine.
That’s why doing 20-minute HIIT workouts that target your whole body is my go-to routine. Not only are they quick and productive, but they are also safe to do post-baby and usually incorporate functional movements that can help in everyday tasks.
To get you started with some great high-intensity exercises, check out these 3 workouts that are safe and effective for reaching your postnatal fitness goals.
Is HIIT Safe for Diastasis Recti?
High-intensity interval training is safe for diastasis recti as long as you don’t see any signs of intolerance while performing the workout. Since everyone has different severities of diastasis recti, there’s no blanket statement of what can or can’t be done with abdominal separation. If you’re feeling core/back weakness or see coning or doming in your core, then it is best to modify the exercise and work on more abdominal strengthening exercises.
When Should I Do a HIIT Workout Post Baby?
There are 3 guidelines to follow to determine if you should do a HIIT routine post-baby. You should be cleared by your doctor to exercise, sleep at least 6 consecutive hours a night, and if you are feeling low stress.
You always want to check with your healthcare provider after having a baby to make sure they agree you are properly healed from birth and can incorporate exercise again.
Once you have a newborn, sleep may not be attainable and that causes quite a bit of stress on your body. Performing exercise like interval training creates higher stress on the body than just going for a walk. So if your body is already lacking the mechanism to combat stress and you start adding more stress from your workouts, it’s not going to be a healthy or productive way to move your body.
HIIT workouts are amazing for cardio and heart health but may not be the best form of exercise if you are tired, run-down, not eating well, and trying to take care of a tiny human. I started adding in HIIT workouts around 6 months postpartum because that’s when I was feeling higher energy, better sleep, and it felt energizing to get in those types of workouts.
Postnatal HIIT Workouts
High-intensity, quick workouts are my jam for postpartum life. I get in, do the work, and get on with my day. Exercise helps so much with my mental health so I need to make sure I’m not getting injured while still moving towards results. Enjoy these three workouts that will get you stronger, sweating, and feeling safe.
Workout # 1
You will need a light weight, medium weight, and box/bench.
Each exercise is performed in 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest. Perform 5 rounds of this routine for an effective 20-minute workout.
Medicine Ball Reverse Lunge:
- Start with your feet about hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball in both hands directly in front of your chest.
- Inhale and step back with your right foot into a lunge with both knees at 90-degree angles.
- Exhale, engage your pelvic floor and bring your back foot to your front foot.
- Keep your body upright, arms extended, and alternate legs for 45 seconds.
Kettlebell Curl to Press:
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart and relaxed knees, hold a kettlebell in each hand at your side.
- Curl the kettlebell up to your shoulder as you would with a regular dumbbell curl while inhaling.
- Exhale, engage your pelvic floor, turn your wrists to face away from you, and press the kettlebell up overhead into a shoulder press.
- Bring your arms back down to the starting position by reversing the original movement.
- Repeat for 45 seconds.
Lateral Box Step Over:
- Place a bench, step, or box that is a comfortable height for you to step onto.
- While standing next to the bench, place your foot closest to the bench on top.
- Then press through the bench with that foot and jump, then land with the opposite foot on the bench and your other foot landing on the ground.
- After landing, immediately repeat by reversing the movement back to the other side of the bench.
- Repeat for 45 seconds. For an extra challenge, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell.
Medicine Ball Front March:
- Stand feet hip-width apart, holding a medicine ball with both hands directly in front of you while inhaling.
- Exhale and engage your core, lift your right leg to a 90° keeping the medicine ball in front of you.
- Bring your foot back down to the initial starting position.
- Repeat this movement with the opposite leg and repeat for 45 seconds.
You will need a light weight, medium weight, and box/bench.
Perform each exercise for 10 reps and repeat for as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes.
Dumbbell Alternating Press:
- Start with feet hip-width apart and bring your arms overhead with the dumbbells held in an overhand grip (palms facing away from your body).
- Inhale and keeping your left arm overhead, bend your right elbow to lower the dumbbell to chin height.
- Exhale and engage your core, and extend your right elbow to return to the beginning position.
- Repeat with the left arm and continue alternating each arm for 10 reps total.
Weighted Box Step Up:
- Stand with a step, box, or bench directly in front of you. Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands at your sides.
- Step up with the right foot, pressing through your heel to straighten your right leg.
- Bring your left foot to meet your right foot on the step.
- Bend your right knee and step back down with the left foot.
- Bring the right foot down to meet the left foot on the ground.
- Repeat alternating which leg steps first for 10 reps total.
- Grip the front edges of a chair, box, or bench with your hands while hovering your butt off and just in front of the seat, feet flat, and legs bent so thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Inhale at the starting position and exhale, engaging your core as you lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
- Engage your triceps to press back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
- For a challenge, extend your legs out in front of you to add more bodyweight to the dip.
Weighted Cossack Squat:
- Stand with your feet wide and slightly turned out, standing tall.
- Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at the chest, inhale and squat down to a deep squat on one side and extend your other leg straight. As you squat down, externally rotate the straight leg so that the toes come up off the ground while the heel stays firmly planted.
- Exhale, engage your core, and press into the ground through the bent leg to bring yourself back up to the starting position, standing tall in your wide stance. Rotate the straight leg back to neutral so that the toes come back on the ground.
- Repeat by alternating each leg for 10 reps total.
You will need a light weight and medium weight.
Complete each exercise for 10 reps and perform 5 rounds total.
Weighted Curtsy Lunge:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand.
- Inhale and take a big step back with your right leg, crossing it behind your left. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the floor with your upper body upright.
- Exhale, engage your core and drive your left leg into the ground while bringing your right leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat with the opposite leg for 10 reps on each leg, 20 reps total.
Weighted Overhead Hold March:
- Start with your feet hip-width apart and bring a weight (dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball) into your hands and hold it straight above your shoulders.
- Inhale and exhale, engage your core and bring your right leg to a 90° keeping the weight overhead.
- Bring your foot back down and repeat with your left leg.
- Alternate legs for 10 reps on each leg, 20 reps total.
- Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and holding a weight (dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball) with both hands in front of your chest.
- Inhale and descend into a wide squat position.
- Exhale, engage your core, and drive through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with two kettlebells between them. Hinge at the hip until you’re able to grab the handles of the kettlebells, putting you in a deadlift position.
- Keep your knees out and sit back a little in order to engage the glutes and hams.
- Row one of the kettlebells up towards your hips while holding the other kettlebell that’s still on the ground.
- Return the kettlebell back to the ground and repeat on the other side keeping your back flat and head neutral.
- Alternate arms for 10 reps each, 20 reps total.
HIIT Workouts For Your Best Post-Baby Body
Workouts do not need to be complicated and intricate to see success. Consistency and fun workouts that keep you engaged will always produce better results. I hope these workouts have inspired you to hit the ground running on your postpartum fitness journey to help you feel amazing in your body. Please let me know if you’ve tried these workouts and share them with a fellow mama!