Why Mums need to deadlift….
For new Mums, motherhood is a continual task of
lifting, laying down, lifting, holding….oh and lifting
Whether you’re picking your baby out of their cot, laying them down for a sleep, picking them up off their play mat on the floor, laying them down to change their nappy, lifting them into and out of their car seat and pram….
The list goes on.
That’s a lot of lifting!
In those early weeks and months after giving birth,
you’re on an exponential learning curve. Trying to
second guess baby’s needs whilst still trying to keep
house and look human.
It’s a tough job!
Even if it’s not your first baby, you then have to
learn how to care for your new baby whilst supervising
and monitoring other children – it becomes a bit like
keeping plates spinning!
So it’s not surprising that thinking of lifting
technique and form does not even enter the heads of new
Here’s why it should.
Think through your day – count up how many times you
lift and lower something, be it a child or equipment
relating to that child. Car seats and prams can weigh
20kg plus – you may have to lift these into and out of
the car several times a day!
In the normal run of daily events, you just lift and
move whatever needs lifting and moving from A to B.
Over time you might start to find things feel progressively heavier and more difficult to lift (babies grow surprisingly quickly). You might also notice aches creeping in around your shoulders and
Could your lifting technique help?
In reality, a combination of things are likely to help.
During pregnancy, as your abdomen expands and baby grows, your centre of gravity changes. As a result, your alignment is likely to change to accommodate everything that’s going on.
Post childbirth, your body may need a little conscious
support to realign things.
Ideally we want your diaphragm moving freely directly over the pelvis, with the pelvic floor moving freely in time with the diaphragm.
That abdominal wall is likely to need some TLC too. We now know that most women will experience a degree of abdominal separation, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy.
Where this persists after childbirth, we refer to
diastasis recti. While we want to support the body
with effective strategies to reduce this gap, we need
to pay particular attention to being able to create
integrity and tension through this gap.
Effectively co-ordinating these aspects of your body
(diaphragm, spinal alignment, abdomen and pelvic floor) can seem like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time, whilst also doing the ironing.
This is where strategies come in. I coach this a bit
like setting off on a car journey – you wouldn’t drive
off before sitting down (alignment), closing the door
(pelvic floor) and fastening your seat belt (abdominal
bracing) would you?
Once these fundamentals are second nature, we can add
“Functional movements” have become a buzz word in the
fitness industry in recent years. To me they are
simply a movement that is relevant to you in your life.
For Mums, this is a lot of lifting and putting down.
This is why I focus on teaching Mums to deadlift, squat
and lunge in particular – all key moves to help them
safely lift and lower baby and equipment to and from
the floor, or other surfaces.
So what do you think – do Mums need to deadlift?
We’re not talking about lifting loads of weight or
piling plates on a barbell here. We are talking about
efficient movement patterns with a load relevant to
your life….think about it, the weight of your baby in
his/her car seat can be as much as 30kg!
Even once your child is past the stage of being lifted
into the car seat, there are still occasions when you
need to lift them (those little legs get tired!). So
again, safe lifting strategies are your saviour in