6 Postpartum Pilates Exercises Inspired By Rihanna

The pop culture world lit up last week when it was announced that music and fashion icon Rihanna gave birth to her first son. After enjoying some much-deserved time with her newborn, the singer will surely be jumping back into her regular wellness routine, hopefully in preparation for a long-awaited album release and tour.

Perhaps part of that wellness routine will be Pilates, often considered one of the best postpartum workouts because it specifically addresses some of the most common challenges experienced by new mothers, including diastasis, pelvic floor instability, and joint injuries.

“Through coordinated, low impact movements, Pilates helps rehabilitate and reactive muscles around the core and pelvis, and can restore joint balance and stability post-pregnancy,” said Shepherd Joseph, Instructor for Club Pilates.

While doing Pilates on a Reformer is going to be the most dynamic and impactful for one’s postpartum body, Joseph says that Pilates mat exercises will still pack major benefits for new moms. Keep reading to find out six at-home postpartum Pilates exercises she suggests, inspired by chart-topping Rihanna songs.

The best postpartum Pilates exercises

Pon de Re-plank [Plank]

A staple in any core workout, a plank will tighten up your abdominals as well as the muscles around your spine and pelvic floor.

Perform this move by laying down on your stomach and then lifting yourself up on your forearms and toes, keeping your body in a strong, straight line from head to heels.

postpartum pilates exercises for new moms

To modify, come down to your knees, but keep your hips elevated at the same height as your shoulders.

Plank modification

Hold your plank for 30 seconds to one minute for two or three rounds, and your core will feel the burn.

Pour It (and Push It) Up [Pilates Push Up]

The focus of this postpartum Pilates exercise is core stability and building upper body strength, which is key for new moms who have to carry around their baby.

Begin your Pilates push up from a kneeling plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders.

pilates push up

Then slowly bend the elbows to 90 degrees, bringing them down and in toward your ribs.

Pilates Push-Up

Finish by pushing yourself back up to your plank position.

Two or three sets of eight to 12 push-ups is ideal to get started.

California King Bridge [Bridge]

Strengthen your posterior chain and improve your posture with a bridge.

Start by lying on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart.

pilates bridge exercise for new moms

Push your heels into the ground and squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your pelvis. Be careful not to arch your back as you lift. Then lower yourself back down to the floor with control.

You can either hold your bridge as an isometric contraction for 30 seconds or more, or perform a few sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.

We Found Love in a Single Leg [Single Leg Pick-Ups]

This move will help increase joint stability and balance.

Similar to a single leg deadlift, start on one foot then reach down with the opposite hand as you sweep your free leg behind you.

Single Leg Pick-Up 2
Single Leg Pick-Up

To help you balance, you can stand by a counter or table to hold on to it.

Try a few sets, doing 10 to 15 reps per side.

Twist It Better [Spinal Twist]

Incorporating a spinal twist into your postpartum workout routine can improve range of motion in your spine as well as support a stable pelvis and good posture.

On the mat or floor, sit up tall with your legs out in front of you, then extend your arms straight out to your sides.

Spine Twist 2

Imagine there is a line running down the middle of your body and rotate your torso and head on that axis as far as you can, then return to your starting posture.

Spine Twist

Perform a couple sets, doing eight to 12 slow and controlled reps per side.

Where Have You Bird-Dogged [Bird Dog]

Bird Dogs are a great exercise to strengthen all the side of your core and improve stability and balance.

To perform this move, come down to a table top position on all fours. Then squeeze your glutes and extend your left leg out behind your body while reaching your right arm straight ahead. Make sure you keep your hips squared to the ground the whole time.

Bird Dog pilates moves for new moms
Bird Dog 2

Hold this posture for 30 seconds or more to feel the burn, and then repeat with the right leg and left arm to even out the work.

The best part of these postpartum Pilates exercises is that you don’t have to be a new mom to do them! They may address issues often experienced post-pregnancy, but everybody can benefit from a stronger core, pelvic floor and joints. For even more motivation, put on Rihanna’s greatest hits like “Umbrella” and “Don’t Stop the Music” while you run through these exercises, and you’ll not only “Love the Way You Lie,” but love the way you feel too!

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About David Robertson

David Robertson has been teaching group fitness for over nine years. He has degrees in Advertising and Kinesiology from the University of Illinois and is certified in Les Mills BODYPUMP, BODYATTACK, BODYJAM and Core, among other formats. Based in Chicago, he currently teaches at the Chicago Athletic Clubs and Fitness Formula Clubs. Previously he has taught at Flywheel Sports, CycleBar and OrangeTheory Fitness. By day, he works as a publicist for several lifestyle brands at a local public relations agency.