Pregnancy can alter your body in a lot of ways, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become active again when you feel ready to do so. Our bodies are always fluctuating, and pregnancy can significantly affect a woman’s posture throughout this life-changing experience. Recovery is a huge part of your postpartum journey, and as much as staying fit and healthy should be a priority as well, your recovery is what matters most. That being said, once you feel ready to become a bit more active day-to-day, there are a few exercises that you can try to get your glutes back.
In this article, I cover 17 postpartum exercises to transform your mom butt and some reasons why you lose muscle mass, so when you’re ready to exercise you have multiple exercises to try. Keep reading to find out more.
17 Postpartum Exercises to Transform Your Butt
Motivating yourself to work out throughout pregnancy and when you’re postpartum can be a challenge. It is incredibly important to wait until your body feels ready to work out and to take it slow in the beginning to ensure that you don’t strain yourself. After all, being a new mom is a workout in itself! The main thing to remember when working your glutes is that preparation is key! Another option is to get a running stroller or if you had twins here is a double stroller.
One of the biggest mistakes people often make when working their glutes is they start exercises, such as squats or lunges, without activating their glutes first. This leaves them feeling frustrated with the lack of results or can even cause an injury. The 17 postpartum exercises in this article have been split into 8 preparation exercises and 9 exercises. So, let’s get started.
To make sure you get the most out of your workouts, you need to follow these simple exercises to warm up your muscles below.
Foam rolling to release tight spots
Before any glute exercise, you’re going to need to release tight spots and muscles. Foam rolling will help improve the range of motion and responsiveness of the tissue.
Exercise 1: Hip release – Foam rolling your hip flexors is a great way to loosen the muscle tissue before your glute workout.
- Begin by lying down, facing the floor on the foam roller, in a forearm plank position. You’re going to need to make sure that the foam roller is underneath your left hip flexor and your right leg is bent comfortably to the side.
- Make sure that your core is engaged the entire time.
- Resting on your forearms, begin to roll the foam slowly up and down and side to side on the foam roller to target the hip flexor, being mindful of the trigger points. Do this for around 30 seconds.
- When you have finished the left hip flexor, switch and repeat on the right hip flexor.
Exercise 2: Tensor fascia latae (TFL) release
- Start this exercise by placing your hand on the top of your hip bone to locate the TFL. The TFL is a very small space on the front corner of your hip bone.
- Once you know where it is, start by placing the foam roller under your side.
- Take your other knee and bend it over the leg that is lying on the foam roller.
- Rotate forward until your top knee drops to the floor.
- It is common for this muscle to feel tight. Be mindful of any tender spots as you make small movements and rest there for 20-30 seconds.
Glute activation exercises
Warming up your glutes is imperative for building muscle. Glute activation exercises are important to carry out before any glute exercises to help improve the mind-muscle connection that is necessary for building strength. When it comes to doing glute activation exercises, resistance bands are a great way to aid you. The band is used to create resistance in order to help you work all of the muscles in your glutes.
Buy one here at Amazon: Letsfit Resistance Bands, Exercise Bands Set Below are two different exercises you can try before a glute workout.
Exercise 3: Donkey kick – 20 reps
- Place a resistance band around your upper thighs, and begin on all fours on a yoga mat. Ensure that your knees are below your hips and your hands are below your shoulders. Set your spine in a neutral position and draw your shoulder back and down
- Make sure that you keep your knee bent, and release and elevate your left leg until your thigh is in line with your spine, ensuring that your foot remains flexed the whole time.
- Lower your right leg to return to the starting position, but without resting your knee on the mat.
- Carry out the exercise until you reach 10 repetitions on the same side, before repeating the same repetitions on the other side.
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Exercise 4: The clam – 20 reps
- To find your starting position, lay on your left side with a resistance band placed around your lower thighs. Extend your arm out straight on the mat and relax your head on the extended arm. Bend both knees and draw them forward slightly to bring your feet in line with your glutes, ensuring that your hips are stacked and that you maintain a gap between your waist and the floor.
- Keeping your feet together, activate your right glute to elevate your right knee towards the ceiling, ensuring that you maintain the gap between your waist and the floor.
- Lower your right knee to return to the starting position.
- Complete 10 repetitions on the same side before completing the remaining repetitions on the other side.
Exercise 5: Prone leg raises – 20 reps
- Begin this exercise by lying flat on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you. Rest your head on the back of your hands.
- Make sure that you engage your core and that your pelvic bones keep their contact with the floor during the whole exercise.
- Squeeze your right glute and use it to lift your leg off the floor as far as you can without excessive movement or pain in your back.
- Keep squeezing the glute and hold your leg in the lifted position for 5 seconds.
- Begin to slowly lower your leg back to the floor and repeat the exercise.
- Continue for 10 reps.
- Repeat on the other leg.
Glute strengthening exercises
Strengthening exercises are important to improve muscle mass and the definition in your butt.
Exercise 6: Hip thrust – 20 reps
- Begin the exercise by lying flat on the ground with your arms at your sides, knees bent, and feet tucked in.
- Drive your heels into the ground while moving your hips upward.
- Bring your hips back down, being careful to go slowly. Make sure that you are tightening your core and glute muscles the entire time.
- Repeat for 20 repetitions.
Exercise 7: Curtsy lunge – 15 – 20 reps
- Begin this exercise by standing with your feet shoulder-distance apart.
- Stand with a straight back and tight core, and bring your left leg behind and to the outside of your right foot.
- Drop your hips through your glutes and bend until your right leg is nearly parallel with the floor, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat for desired reps, before switching legs.
Exercise 8: Lateral banded walks – 20 reps
- Begin by placing a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees. If you want to increase the difficulty of the exercise, place the band below your knees and above your ankles.
- To carry out this exercise, push your butt backward and bend your knees as if you were doing a squat.
- Make sure that you keep your back straight and engage your core while you move your left foot 10 inches to the left, then bring your bring foot toward it.
- Repeat with the opposite leg.
By performing these three types of preparation exercises prior to your glute workout, you will simply ensure that you have activated your glutes so that they do their job properly and that you get the most out of your workout.
Keep these release and activation exercises in your back pocket as a warm-up to all of your lower body workouts. The more time you dedicate to activating your glutes properly, the quicker you’ll see the results! While you may not always have time for the warm-up, your glute workouts will be much more effective with proper muscle activation. If you don’t have time for the foam rolling, I recommend doing a warm-up at the very minimum with the activation exercises! Now that you have preparation exercises to get the most out of your workouts, it’s time to put your glutes to work with glute exercises!
Exercise 9: Bulgarian split squat – 20 reps
- Find a step or a bench that you can rest your foot on, that is about knee height so that you’re as comfortable as possible.
- Get into a forward lunge position with a straight torso, core engaged and hips square to your body, with your back foot elevated on the bench. Your leading leg should be half a meter or so in front of the bench.
- Lower until your front thigh is almost horizontal to the ground, keeping your knee in line with your foot. Be careful to not let your front knee travel beyond your toes.
- Drive your leg up through your front heel back to the starting position, keeping your movement controlled the whole time.
- Repeat for 10 repetitions, before switching to the other leg.
Exercise 10: Single leg hip thrusts – 20 reps
- Grab a stable chair, and place your shoulder blades just below the edge of the chair or bench. If you wish, place the backs of your arms against the edge for support.
- Hold your right leg at a 90-degree angle at the hip and drive the other foot into the floor to bridge your hips up.
- Engage your core while squeezing your right glute muscle.
- Lower your hips back to the starting position and repeat for 10 repetitions.
- Repeat on the other side.
Exercise 11: Side plank clams – 20 reps
- Place a resistance band around your thighs. Lie in a side plank position on your forearm with your hips stacked and knees at a 45-degree angle. Place your top hand on your hip to prevent putting it in front of you for balance and shifting the focus of the exercise.
- Be mindful to engage your core to prevent arching your low back.
- Keeping your legs bent, press through your bottom knee to lift your hips up off the ground until you feel it in your glutes.
- As you lift your hips, lift your top leg toward the ceiling while keeping the knee bent.
- Open up your legs, and using your glutes, lift the top leg up making sure that you squeeze your glutes.
- Pause at the top for a few seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 reps before switching to the other side.
Exercise 12: Goblet squats – 15 – 20 reps
- Place a resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees.
- Holding a kettlebell close to your chest, stand with your feet wider than shoulder-distance apart and with your toes slightly pointed out.
- Keeping your elbows close to your chest and pointing down, hinge at your hips and bend your knees to slowly lower your body as far as you can.
- Hold the position at the bottom for 2 seconds.
- Make sure that you drive through your heels to engage your glutes and return to your starting position.
- Repeat for 15 – 20 reps.
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Exercise 13: Banded hip thrusts – 18 – 20 reps
- Begin by lying on the yoga mat and placing a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees.
- Keep your knees bent, with a little outward pressure keeping the band taut.
- Drive your heels into the ground while moving your hips upward with your arms pressed down to the ground. Hold in the final position for a few seconds, squeezing your glutes.
- Bring your hips back down, being careful to go slowly. Make sure that you are tightening your core and glute muscles the entire time.
- Repeat for 18 – 20 repetitions.
Exercise 14: Walking lunges – 20 reps
- Grab a pair of dumbbells for both hands. Begin with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Being careful to keep your core engaged, step one foot forward while keeping it in line with your hip bone.
- Take a step forward so far that both knees create a 90-degree angle as you lower your leg into a lunge.
- Drive through your front heel as you stand and bring your back leg to meet your front leg.
- Step the opposite leg forward and repeat.
- Continue alternating legs in a forward motion for the duration of the exercise until you’ve done 20 reps overall.
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Exercise 15: Jump squats – 10 reps
Note: Jump squats are higher impact than squats, so only do them if you have been given the go ahead for high impact exercise by your doctor.
- Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart like you would for a standard squat.
- Bend your knees and descend into a regular squat. Engage your core and jump into the air.
- When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep.
- Make sure that you concentrate on landing with your knees bent as gently as possible to control the movement and to avoid injuring yourself.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
Exercise 16: Deficit reverse lunge – 15 – 20 reps
- Grab two dumbbells for your hands and find a sturdy bench to stand on with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure that you engage your core and carefully step your right foot back making sure that you’re focusing the weight on the ball of your foot.
- Keep bending your front knee as you sink into a deep lunge.
- Concentrate on keeping your core engaged so that you aren’t sticking your butt out. You may need to start without weights and place your hands on your hips so that you can make sure your hips are not tilting to begin with. Once you’ve got this mastered, you can progress to holding weights as you carry out this exercise.
- Drive your weight through your top foot to return to the standing position.
- Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
Exercise 17: Skater hops – 10-15 reps
Note: Skater hops are also considered to be relatively high impact, so always be sure to check with your doctor before you incorporate them into your workout routine.
- Start this exercise with most of your weight on your left foot with your right leg slightly behind your right foot in a small curtsey lunge.
- Pushing off of your left foot, jump sideways to the right, landing slightly crouched onto your left leg with your right leg behind your left ankle.
- Repeat the movement by jumping off of your left foot sideways to the right.
- Continue back and forth for the desired amount of repetitions.
So, now you have 17 different exercises that you can try, you might be wondering why you lose your butt through pregnancy. As a new mom, you can lose your butt for a variety of reasons that are often unavoidable. That being said, gaining a better understanding of why this occurs is important. After all, knowledge is power! So, why can your butt sometimes disappear during and after pregnancy?
One of the biggest contributing factors to losing your butt during pregnancy is your hormones. When a woman is pregnant, a series of changes occur that prepare her body for birth. Your body releases a hormone known as relaxin. In preparation for childbirth, this hormone relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix. However, relaxin causes joints to soften and feel loose when performing daily activities, which can contribute to poor posture and more relaxed joints which can prevent the glute muscles from activating properly. Over time, then, your butt begins to lose its shape.
Posture changes can also affect your butt. Your posture changes a lot throughout pregnancy and when you are postpartum, too.
This occurs as a direct result of factors that include but are not limited to: the pregnancy itself, birth, recovery, sitting, nursing, and rocking your baby when they need to be soothed. That’s because, as your baby grows, the rest of your body shifts to make room for your growing belly and the added weight of your baby!
Your lower back will gradually start to curve more, and your shoulders may also move back to make up for your shifting center of gravity and enlarging uterus.
These posture changes, then, can affect your butt as this shift causes your hip flexors to become tight and your glutes to become weak, therefore leading to you losing your muscle there. Additionally, caring for a child that constantly sits on your hip can cause posture problems leading to joint pain in the hips and lower back.
Although it’s necessary and convenient to carry your child around on your hip a lot of the time, it’s good to be aware of the effect it has on your posture, and therefore your butt long term! Here is a back pack carrier for when you are outside.
Muscle takes forever to gain but can begin to disappear within a matter of weeks. That being said, a big reason your butt disappears during and after pregnancy is thanks to inactivation. Tight hip flexors can prevent you from working your glutes properly. When the glute muscles are not activated properly, we end up compensating with other muscles.
Long story short, if you’re not properly activating the muscles, you can’t grow or even maintain the strength. This is likely to be made worse by the fact that during pregnancy, you’re significantly less active.
This is especially true at the beginning of your pregnancy if you suffer from morning sickness and towards the end of your pregnancy in your third trimester when it comes to preparing for birth. That being said, the fact your glutes aren’t being activated as much as they were before when you were targeting them specifically, it makes sense that your butt decreases in size during and after pregnancy.
Although breastfeeding is a great way of losing weight after you give birth, it can affect your muscle mass.
This thanks to the combination of prolonged sitting while breastfeeding paired with the extra calories you burn to produce the breast milk. This is why nutrition is so important when it comes to breastfeeding as a new mother.
Your nutrition and how you fuel your body throughout the day is just as important, if not more important than your workout routine to ensure that you maintain as much muscle mass as possible.
This reason comes hand in hand with inactivation, as during your final trimester and for the first few weeks after you give birth, you’re bound to be sitting more than you usually might. The amount you sit and rest immediately after you give birth is for good reason, as resting is an essential part of your recovery.
However, sitting for a long period of time can cause tight hip flexors and weakened glutes, so while this is often unavoidable, it is another reason why you notice a difference in your butt.
Lack of exercise
Another reason for your butt changing is a lack of exercise altogether. Many expecting moms either stop exercising entirely during pregnancy or opt for new exercises because they are unsure of how to navigate their prenatal workout routine. Low impact exercises like walking or alternatively prenatal yoga are great for keeping you active throughout your pregnancy, but they are not the best exercises for maintaining glute strength and muscle mass. Gaining strength and toning your muscles require proper glute activation and specific strength training exercises that target that area specifically.
It is also worth mentioning that if you are doing a lot of walking without proper glute activation, you are most likely compensating with other muscles which can further weaken the glutes. Although these are all common reasons for losing muscle mass, a lot of them are totally unavoidable!
Pregnancy is tough for a lot of women for many, many reasons. That being said, if you have a particularly tough pregnancy, there’s no wonder why working your glutes is low on your priority list. Although these common reasons will give you a better understanding of why you can easily lose the size of your butt, it’s important to not berate yourself for losing a bit of muscle mass.
After all, you have grown a whole new life and brought them into this world, which is a miracle in itself! Be patient with your body and enjoy your baby.