After pregnancy, women often complain about upper body pains and especially postnatal shoulder ache. And it’s not a surprise at all, as they’re cuddling their baby all the time, doing the housework with a baby in one hand and often sleep with their arms around the child. This is a massive load upon their shoulders. And this pain can even strengthen when new mothers do postnatal exercises to get back in shape and lose baby weight.
This week, we’ve been looking at 3 of the most common postnatal exercises mistakes a mother can do during postpartum period and ways to avoid them. Today, in the final blog of this series, we bring you an illustrated guide on how to avoid the Shoulder Squeezer, a mistake that can bring shoulder and neck pain to new mums after childbirth.
We’ve already looked at how important it is for new mums to exercise correctly, avoid the pain and to ensure that their workouts are safe and effective. This simple guide from our FitMama appFitMama app shows how to abstain from the Shoulder Squeezer.
Please CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN OR DOCTOR before you start any fitness or yoga activities, especially if you just had a baby.
The Shoulder Squeezer
Many new mums are keen to tone their back and waist. The upper body lift is a tried and tested exercise that is great for strengthening the muscles that affect your spine and waistline (the erector spinae muscles). It’s a particularly useful exercise for after having a baby, as the stronger these muscles are, the less likely mums are to experience the shoulder and backache that’s so common in the first few months after childbirth. But if you do it wrong, you can actually make those aches and pains worse.
The most common mistake when doing upper body lifts as an exercise is to squeeze your shoulders up to your neck as you lift, like this…
(You’ll see that the mum in this picture has a towel tucked under her chest – this makes the exercise much more comfortable for breastfeeding mums.)
This creates potentially painful tension in the shoulders, neck and back.
How to avoid the Shoulder Squeezer
To avoid squeezing your shoulders and neck together, extend your shoulders away from your neck back and downwards, like this…
Then you get your neck elongated, your chest open and, as a result, no pain in your shoulders and neck.
you’ll feel the open stretch across your chest as you do.
To get it right, follow these simple steps mums:
1. Lie face down and stretch your body out. Put a small rolled towel under your ribs. Put your arms by your sides.
2. Breathe out and raise your arms as if they’re wings, with your palms facing upwards. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, keep your arms tucked in and lift up your upper body. Don’t tighten your neck and shoulders and keep your shoulders extended from your neck.
3. Breathe out and return to the starting position.
This exercise tones and strengthen the muscles– hello, firmer back! Thanks FitMama!
Do speak to your doctor or health visitor before starting your post-baby exercise regime, to make sure your post pregnancy body is ready to go.
Love these pictures? There are many more in our FitMama app. And you’ll also get brilliant audio instructions, more Do’s and Dont’s and the mobility to exercise anytime, anywhere whether you have just the 5 or 10 minutes to spare! Your mobile phone is all you need.
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Can’t wait to know the 3 most common exercise mistakes? Have a sneaky peek at our Do’s and Dont’s here: