Exercise Progressions for Improving Balance Postpartum

Balance postpartum can feel a little shaky, ya? It makes sense when you remember your organs literally all shifted around for 9 months, your posture and gait may have changed, and you’re now trying to find your equilibrium again.

Not postpartum? Every single sport ever involves one-legged movements at some point.

Not into sports? How about training for life then, knowing at 70 years old when you reach for something off the top shelf and find yourself on one leg you’ll have the confidence to know you won’t fall and break your hip.

Here are 4 mini-sequences to progress some basic movements to incorporate both strength and balance. Click here to view videos for each.

1. Deadlift progression

1a) Basic deadlift: focus on driving hips back, and engaging glutes to come to standing.

1b) Kickstand deadlift: On the toes of your back leg, work is in the front leg hamstring & glute mucles. Hinge at hips, pushing bum behind you.

1c) Single leg deadlift: Weight in hand of leg that is lifting, keep hips square to the ground, back neutral. Challenging!! Try it barefoot for better planting of your foot.

2. Overhead press progression

2a) Kickstand OH press: Use toes of back leg as balance, press on same side as you’ve stepped back on.

2b) Bosu ball OH press: Place back foot on a bosu ball, or squishy mat or block.

2c) Single leg OH press

3. Birddog progression

3a) Birddog: On all 4’s, extend opposite arm and leg slowly, maintaining stable back and core position throughout. I show you what not to do first in the video.

3b) 3-point row: On a bench or box, use a weight heavy enough it challenges your core to keep from rotating.

3c) Birddog row: Hold Birddog position through rows, avoiding twisting and rotating.

4. Squat progression

4a) Squat: Knees and hips lower together.

4b) Split squat: Take one step back from your squat stance, keeping feet wide like you're on railroad tracks. Keep feet planted in place as you lower down and up.

4c) Reverse lunge: Step back, again keeping feet hip width distance apart, and bring feet back together between reps. If you have rings or a TRX to hold for stability they are a great segway to unassisted reverse lunges.

5. Squat progression (weighted)

Hold a KB or DB in the goblet position for added challenge to your core (and whole body).

Additional movements that would be great to incorporate here include more core work like an Offset Racked Carry, Banded/Cable/Med Ball Woodchop, and also some lateral lower body work like side lunges, progressing to side step ups. There are so many options besides standing on one leg while you brush your teeth to work on balance - though that will totally help, too!