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3 Pilates Moves for New Moms from Celeb Trainer Shannon Nadj

Pilates is having a moment. Whether you’ve been doing the A-list approved workout for years or you’ve found yourself stalking #PilatesTikTok while in the checkout line at Whole Foods, it’s hard to avoid the popular and highly effective workout and its benefits, especially for new moms. Shannon Nadj, celebrity trainer and founder of Hot Pilates in Los Angeles, tells us, “Pilates is perfect for those looking for maximum results in minimum time.” The entrepreneur, wellness expert and new mom is all about finding balance through gentle exercises that challenge you to be your strongest self, on and off the mat. 

As the founder of one of LA’s cult-favorite Pilates studios (that’s loved by the Biebers, Kendall Jenner, Molly Sims and more), Nadj knows what it takes to create a fun workout that shows real results. After giving birth to her son in 2021, Shannon was open with her social media followers about her postpartum workout journey. “I wanted to be very real with it, and the experience I was going through, especially for the moms on my platform,” the trainer says. “Something that I took away from my pregnancy early on, was to be gentle with myself, and do what feels good…I’m only doing Pilates right now. It really is enough.”

Nadj adds, “A lot of my mom followers will ask, ‘How soon after giving birth did you start working out again?’ Personally, I didn’t start working out until six months postpartum. My baby was my priority, not my six pack. I listened to my body before getting back into my typical workout routine, and started these exercises when it felt right.”

What Are the Benefits of Pilates for New Moms?

If you’re wondering why the low-impact mat workout appeals to those looking to get back into a fitness routine or continue to tone after baby, it all goes back to the basics made popular by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Research shows that Pilates can have an array of benefits, from  to a stronger core and boosted mood (all things we crave as humans raising tiny humans). Studies also show the positive impact Pilates has on your pelvic floor muscles, which tend to weaken during pregnancy. “After you have a baby, it’s less about strengthening your core, and more about finding it!” Nadj jokes. “The body changes so much during that time, and it’s about reconnecting with your “new” core, and this version of your body.”

She continues, “It took me months to find my routine again. I truly believe in working multiple muscle groups at once, for the most efficient workout results. When you’re a new mom, you don’t have a lot of time, so I like to include legs, glutes, arms, abs, everything in my Pilates exercises. You’ll find the three moves below work them all, and you’ll feel great after.”

Before rolling out your mat or towel, remember Nadj’s advice for any exercise postpartum: “It’s important to move your body with intention,” she stresses. “You may have to move a bit differently after you have the baby—and that’s ok. You want to protect your body from injury, and run everything by your doctor before getting back into it.”

Below, find the three Pilates moves Nadj swears by for new moms.

Meet the Expert

Shannon Nadj is a celebrity trainer and founder of Hot Pilates in Los Angeles.

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Move 1: Core Focus

Step 1: Sit up as tall as you can, with your feet flat on the mat, and scoop the belly to the spine. Slowly roll down, sliding your hands down your thighs until you are safely resting on your back.

Step 2: Bring legs up into a tabletop position. Place your hands behind your head, and scoop your abs in to raise your head off the ground, making sure not to pull on your neck. With your head raised, extend the legs out long at a 45-degree angle, drawing back into tabletop with every exhale. Repeat 10 times and finish with your head and feet back down to the mat.

Note: To modify, you can always rest your head back down to the mat, with your arms extended long by your sides and continue the lower-body movement.

Move 2: Pelvic Lift

Step 1: Laying on your back with your feet flat on the mat and your arms long by your sides, prepare for a pelvic lift. This move is perfect for strengthening your pelvic floor, to repair your abdominals and tighten your glutes.

Step 2: Squeeze your seat to bring your hips up and relax your seat back down to the floor, hovering an inch above the mat. For a multifunctional move, raise your arms above your head, opening wide in a “T” position when your seat lowers, and raising back up when you lift hips to the sky. Repeat 10 times.

Note: To advance this move, with your arms flat by your sides on the mat, raise your hips and extend one leg to the sky. With one foot flat on the mat and the other leg raised, lower and raise the leg, dip your seat to the mat and rise up for a combo effect.

Move 3: Side Plank Series

Step 1: Lay on your side, with your palm pressing flat into the mat, applying pressure through the heel of our hand for stability. (To modify, place forearm flat on the mat.)

Step 2: Extend legs and raise hips into a side plank position, with the front foot an inch in front of the back.

Step 3: Raise the opposite arm up, extending long to the sky on your inhale, and on your exhale scoop that arm beneath the chest, hugging your ribs toward your spine and contracting your core. Repeat 5 times on each side.

Final Stretch: Child’s Pose

Extend knees out wide to the sides of the mat, sinking your seat back towards your heels for a hip opener and to relax the spine. Fold over the mat, with your forehead reaching down and arms extended in front of you, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Breathe—you did it!

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