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Postpartum Progression: Resuming Impact

Once postpartum clients have progressed through recovery and built sufficient strength, many times they want to get back to the high-intensity work they might have been doing pre-pregnancy. But how do you introduce impact and other high-intensity activity in a safe way?

This post will cover how to progress your postpartum clients to higher intensity activity in a step-by-step manner following the guidance provided in the Performance stage of postpartum training taught in our Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist Course. We begin by introducing variations in speed, then gradually introducing impact. Let’s break each of these down.

Step 1: Introduce Speed

The first step to introducing impact is to vary the speed at which you perform the eccentric and concentric phases of movements. In the video below, we share a 4-step process to vary speed. We use the example of a squat, but you can apply these same steps to any movement that has a concentric and eccentric phase — upper or lower body. We recommend sticking to sagittal plane first, however, before progressing to frontal or transverse plane moves.

So, to recap, the speed variations are:

  1. Slow eccentric. Slow concentric
  2. Slow eccentric. Fast concentric
  3. Fast eccentric. Fast concentric
  4. Slow eccentric. Slow concentric

As you layer these steps into your programming, the key markers to signal success are:

  1. Ability to perform movements while maintaining neutral alignment
  2. Absence of “coning” in belly (a sign of diastasis recti)
  3. Absence of urinary or fecal leakage (a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction)

If you note any of these, her body is not quite ready for that particular progression.  If she progresses through all of these with no symptoms, then you are ready to move onto the second progression.

Step 2: Introducing Impact

Like step 1, we will follow a 4-step process to introduce impact as well. Think of this as gradually building up your client’s “suspension system.” Watch the explanation below.

To recap, the 4 steps are:

  1. Two feet: sagittal (i.e. squat jump)
  2. One foot: sagittal (i.e. squat jump on one foot)
  3. Two feet: frontal (i.e. jumping to the side and landing on two feet)
  4. One foot: frontal (i.e. leaping side-to-side from one foot to the other)

Like step 1, look for the same key markers (neutral alignment, no coning or leaking) as indicators it’s safe to progress onto the next step. Once your client progresses through step 4 above, then you can gradually introduce transverse plane movement (the most challenging). Just remember, this entire process could take some time. Every individual is different.

For more information on postpartum training, explore our Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist Course