peloton postpartum classes

  • How to Return to Peloton Classes Postpartum

    Introduction

    A question I hear a lot is “How do I return to peloton classes postpartum?”. Peloton already has some great postpartum strength classes but what about the cardio classes? Don’t worry. As a Peloton fanatic and postpartum exercise coach, I’ve got you covered. Below, I explain the what, when, where, why and how of returning to peloton workouts postpartum.

    Getting Started

    When you are first returning to exercise postpartum, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

    1. Get Medical Clearance

    Even if you had an active pregnancy, it’s a good idea to get medical clearance before returning to anything more than walking and restorative exercise. Our bodies did something pretty amazing by creating a human and laboring or enduring a c-section. Some of the healing is hard for us to see. Getting clearance at your postpartum follow up appointment, around 6 weeks postpartum, is a great idea. 

    2. Start with Short Workouts

    Starting with short workouts gives us an opportunity to see how a workout impacts us without requiring a ton of recovery time. These first workouts are essentially a test to see how our body responds before adding on more. 

    I recommend starting with a 10-minute workout and adding on in small increments ( about 5-10 minutes). In the 48 hours following a workout, you will watch for pain, incontinence, excessive fatigue or hunger, and/or a dip in your milk supply. If you are symptom-free, you can move onto the next time duration. If you did have any of those symptoms, I recommend figuring out how you can resolve these issues before lengthening your workout. For example, if you were excessively hungry, could you eat more after your workout. If your milk supply dipped, consider if you need to hydrate more. 

    3. Wait 48-Hours Between Workouts

    This isn’t a forever rule, but it is helpful the first few weeks. It gives you an opportunity to see how a workout impacts you, including the day after the workout. You may also find you need more recovery time right now. Lack of sleep, stress, and breastfeeding can make it harder to recover from a workout. If you are not recovering, you likely won’t see the progress you are hoping for. 

    4. Stick with low-intensity efforts

    In the first few weeks returning to exercise postpartum, stick to low to moderate intensity workouts. You shouldn’t be out of breath. This will make it easier to recover from workouts, so you can workout more consistently. Working out every day will over you more value than one hard workout every five days. Keeping workouts low intensity also leaves you with energy left in the tank. This is really important for parents who need to be ready to go with the flow.

    5. Pay Attention to Pain

    Oh, how I wish I had taken my own advice on this one. About 4 months postpartum, I injured my meniscus when I ignored a weird feeling in my knee and decided to play tennis anyway. I ended up spending months in physical therapy instead of running or playing tennis.

    If something feels off, trust your instinct. Thanks to hormones, lack of sleep, and sometimes lacking pelvic stability, postpartum people are at a higher risk of injury. Reach out to a physical therapist who works with postpartum people to help you understand what is going on and your unique action plan.

    Your First Peloton Cycling, Row, and Tread Classes Postpartum

    We’ve talked about some guidelines to help you return to exercise postpartum. Now it’s time to get to the fun stuff! Not all classes are created equal when it comes to being postpartum-friendly. Here are some details to look for when choosing classes the first few weeks.

    Cycling

    Start with low-impact or beginner rides. They tend to include minimal, if any, time out of the saddle. Standing on the bike requires a lot of core strength and stability. If we don’t have that available, our knees are more vulnerable to injury and we may experience a lot of downward pelvic pressure and/or leaking. These classes also focus on form and tend to use really supportive language. If you are competitive like me, it can be hard to ignore an instructors cue to “leave it all on the table” even if that’s not your goal for the day. So I like to remove the temptation and focus on lower intensity classes.

    It’s ok to choose a more intense class because you love the instructor, music, or live class timeslot. But make sure you go into with a plan. Ignore the class cues if they don’t align with your goals for that workout. And, of course, have a blast!

    Row

    Rowing is a new love of mine. I like that it is low-impact and a full-body workout. It’s generally safe to start rowing again when you have been cleared to resume exercise. However, you may need to adjust your form and technique as you work on regaining your core strength. 

     

    The Lean Back

    Be cautious with the backwards lean during the drive phase if you have diastasis recti or show signs of coning. If you are having trouble controlling abdominal pressure, consider removing or minimizing the lean back while you focus on ab rehab.

    Use Your Breath

    You may feel a lot of outward or downward core/pelvic pressure during the drive phase. If so, use your breath to support your movement. For many people, starting their exhale before they push off will help engage the core and pelvic floor muscles. 

    Use Both Sides of the Body Equally

    After having a baby, some people find themselves accidentally favoring a side. Make sure you are sitting facing forward, not leaning to one side, and pushing off with both feet equally.

    Tread/Outdoor Runs

    Running is a higher impact activity than cycling or row. Therefore, many people return to running later than other lower impact activities. Based on the guidance from this Internal Journal of Sports Therapy paper, you may benefit from the strategy below. I highly recommend checking out the linked journal article for a first-hand overview of their recommendations and additional details. 

    Postpartum Weeks 3-4 or Later
    • Start walking 15 minutes or less; increase frequency and duration as long as feels good
    Postpartum Weeks 5-7 or Later

    Transition to walking up to 30 minutes or less as long as continue to be symptom-free

    Postpartum Weeks 8-12 or Later

    Complete a Return-to-Run Self-Assessment and/or get a professional assessment from a physical therapist who works with postpartum runners. This will help you understand your body’s ability to handle the impact of running and what strength exercises you may want to start focusing on. 

    If the assessment goes well, you can consider adding short running intervals to your walks. The run intervals should stay 60 seconds or less. The recovery interval should be at least twice as long as the run interval. This isn’t a sprint. Run intervals should be a low to moderate intensity level. If you can’t get out a long sentence, you are going too hard. 

    I’d recommend sticking with Peloton Walking classes during this phase. The recommended run segment durations are shorter than you will generally see in a Walk/Run class. And remember, there is no benefit to starting this phase if it feels bad. You may find spending a few weeks focusing on strength training makes the run intervals feel a heck of a lot better. 

    Postpartum Week 13+ or Later

    Assuming all is going well, you can transition to Walk/Run classes. Peloton has a great 8-week intro running program called “You Can Run” (Tread) and “You Can Run Outdoors”. I recently completed this program and loved it! Even as an experienced runner and certified run coach, I really benefited from their cues during each walk/run.

    There are two things to keep in mind if you start this program. First, you may need longer recovery segments than they are prescribing and that is ok! Remember our guidelines and don’t be afraid to shorten a run segment or a workout if it is too much. Second, returning to running postpartum is rarely a linear process. So there is a decent chance you aren’t going to perfectly stick to their timeline. There are a million reasons why you might need to repeat a class or take it late. I know we all want to earn the badges, but go at your own pace and try to enjoy the process. You will get there!

    Conclusion

    I hope this was helpful! Still have questions? I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to message me at erin@therunningdoula.com or DM me on Instagram (erintherunningdoula).

    Want a custom plan? Check out my coaching services!