With the festive season fast approaching we are happy to get expert advice from Colleen Butler who is a mother of two (ages 3 and 2) and owner of Motus Strength Gym in Fulham/Chelsea alongside her husband Bruce.
Motus Strength offers one to one training sessions in Calisthenics and weight training and is also becoming a Crossfit affiliate gym from December this year.
Getting rid of that extra fat after having a baby can be frustrating and no two women are the same. Regardless of how much fat you need to lose to regain your pre-baby body shape the same rules apply to all. Alongside the obvious recommendation of keeping a healthy diet is strength training and calisthenics. Not really new news to some but often strength training is left last on the list after ‘cardio’ or your favourite yoga or HIIT class.
Thats not to say you shouldn’t do cardiovascular training or yoga classes you enjoy but it is important to have a strong foundation that will keep your joints stable and supported first.
Women can lose a lot of muscle mass while pregnant and after having a baby (due to all the hormonal changes) which can accentuate that ‘out of shape’ look. Taking some time for strength training and calisthenics as soon as possible post baby will get you looking and feeling great.
But what exactly is calisthenics and what kind of strength training??
Start with some foundation core work. Basic core exercises are extremely important for pelvic floor and abdominal health when done correctly.
Body weight training or ‘calisthenics’ can help a woman achieve a body that’s even better than her pre-baby one! And you wont even need to lift any weights.
Let’s get real though- there’s no magic wand, no miracle potion- you will need to learn the techniques, the progressions and be consistent.
Yes, consistency is key. Even if you only train twice a week for 30 minutes each, you will get results over time.
Here are some essential exercises for someone starting out. All of them can be regressed and progressed. The progressions are endless which means your body will get stronger, leaner and there’s always a new challenge to help with motivation.
Hollow body on floor (tuck and full) – start in a tuck position and make sure your lower back is pressed firmly into the floor. Work up to 1 minute holds (do 6 reps of 10 seconds, 3 reps of 20 seconds, 2 of 30 seconds etc until you reach 1 full minute and move on to the full version).
The ‘abdominal’ plank – a slightly improved version of the classic plank. Suck your abdominals up and keep them tight! Try and round the whole spine without sticking your bottom in the air. Work up to 1 minute holds!
The full range press-up – try and lower yourself down to this position slowly…and back up again! If you can’t push back up just keep practising the ‘eccentric’ or lowering down part until you get strong enough to push back up. This can also be done with your hands on a bench to make to easier. Don’t put your knees on the floor! Keep the full plank position with good form. Perform as many as you can!
Squats – the classic squat. Go as deep as you can slowly and keeping your spine in ‘neutral’. Abdominals need to stay tight! 10 reps
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