How to Work Out After A C-Section

By Jessie Mundell
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If you’ve had one or multiple C-sections, or perhaps you have an upcoming scheduled Caesarian, you might be wondering how to safely return to exercise after such a surgery.

You might also be wondering what exercises and type of workouts are most effective to help you feel strong, stable, and more like yourself again.

Strength training workouts are likely the biggest bang for your buck after the initial recovery period of gentle core and pelvic floor exercises, physiotherapy, and walking.

Strength training workouts, with smart exercise programming, can be highly effective because:

  • They are time efficient (hello, mom life).
  • You can use as much or as little exercise equipment that is available to you.
  • They will help to re-develop your core strength (think abdominals, glutes, pelvic floor, lower back).
  • If tweaking your body shape or body composition is an eventual goal of yours, resistance training is the most effective form of exercise.

Note: The early days, weeks, and months of C-section recovery require some specific techniques to help the body rehab. For more information on recovery, be sure to read this article about Returning to Exercise After a C-Section.

Today, we’ll go a few steps further beyond the initial healing time!

In this article, I’ve written out a full body workout you can do at-home after a C-section. This workout is perfect if you’re returning to exercise, or if you’ve been back to strength training for awhile already.

If you are feeling well, recovering well from surgery, your energy is OK, and you’ve been cleared for exercise, you could begin using this workout anytime after 8 weeks postpartum.

Whether you are early in your postpartum recovery, or years postpartum and just returning to exercise, remember to ease into any exercise you begin.

Full Body Workout for After C-Section

*Equipment needed: 1 medium strength resistance band/cable machine, bench/couch

Circuit 1: Complete for 2–4 sets

1A. 1-Arm Band Row: 10–12 reps each side (See two-arm row here.)

  • Squeeze strongly through the back muscles
  • Tuck elbow back beside the ribcage

1B. Bodyweight Squat: 10–15 reps

  • Inhale to squat down, exhale to stand up
  • Squeeze glutes and quads to stand

1C.  Tall-Kneeling Pallof Press: 8–10 reps each side (See standing variation here.)

  • Hips and shoulders square to the front
  • Exhale to push the arms out, fully straight, in front of the chest

For a full video demonstration of Circuit 1, see this video:

Circuit 2: Complete for 2–4 sets

2A. 1-Arm Band Chest Press: 10–12 reps each side (See half-kneeling variation here.)

  • Lean into the front
  • Exhale to push the arm out, feeling work through the chest and shoulder muscles

2B. Hip Thrust: 10–15 reps

  • The upper and lower body move as one unit
  • Squeeze the glutes to lift the hips up

2C. Side-Lying Straight Leg Raise: 10–15 reps each side

  • Top hip stacked over the bottom hip
  • Slow and controlled, squeeze the glutes to raise the top leg a small amount

For a full video demonstration of Circuit 2, see this video:

Note: You can complete this workout between 1–3 times per week.

Have fun!

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About the author:  Jessie Mundell

Jessie Mundell is a certified kinesiologist and a Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach, as well as an author and mother. She specializes in pre- and postnatal exercise and corrective exercise. Learn more about Jessie on her website and connect with her on Twitter.

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