Getting back into the gym after having your baby can be like stepping into an alternate universe. Maybe everything looks the same. Same old treadmills. Same old stretch area. Same old weights. But everyone is speaking a language you don’t recognize. What the heck happened to my core? Why do I feel so weak? Why do my knees cave in when I squat or lunge?
Pregnancy can make big changes to your body. Sometimes you can see those changes. Sometimes you can’t. Pregnancy changes your posture. It puts pressure on your core muscles and ligaments. It stretches and challenges the pelvic floor. And after baby is born it can take some time to put everything back together again!
When our core is recovering, or is weak, our bodies find ways to borrow stability from other places in our body. This is often why our knees cave in when we squat or lunge. You may have learned in middle school physics class that the triangle is the strongest shape. When our knees cave in our body is trying to use the structure of our body to gain stability that we are lacking in our core.
If your knees are doing this, here are a few things that you can try.
- Change your breathing/pressure strategy. Try to relax your belly and inhale as you descend into a squat. Exhale as you come up. Watch your knees and see what happens.
- Use a band. Put a band around your knees so you have to actively push your knees out. Do a few squats actively pushing your knees out.
- Do corrective exercises. Clamshells and miniband walks can help build more stability in your hips and also coordinate your breath and core with your glutes.
If you want to learn more about getting back into the gym postpartum, or you are interested in staying strong safely during pregnancy, schedule a consultation with us!