Well it’s that time of year again. The time when my holiday TV viewing is interrupted by ads for a *certain* spin bike. While it’s no secret that this bike has become a hot ticket item through all of Covid, there are some things you should keep in mind if you’re starting to spin or returning to spin after having a baby. If you're asking the question "is it safe to take spin class after having a baby?" then read on!
1. Save Your Seat
This first one should be pretty obvious. Make sure you’ve healed from any tearing and stitching that resulted from childbirth. If you're too sore to sit on the couch, avoid the bike seat! Also make sure that if you are experiencing any pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence that you go see a pelvic floor physical therapist and follow their guidance regarding your return to the bike. Sitting on the bike is a lot of pressure to your pelvic floor; muscles that have undergone what is best described as a traumatic experience!
2. Place Your Pelvis
It’s clear that your pelvis has go through a lot during pregnancy. You may be stuck in an anterior tilt that occurred as a result of your growing belly, or maybe your baby holding posture has caused you to push your hips forward and tuck your butt. Whatever your body’s preferred deviation, make sure you know how to find a neutral pelvis when seated. If you can’t find it on your dining room chair it’s going to be really hard to find on your bike seat.
3. Mind Your Spine
It’s SO tempting to hunch over when you're sitting on a bike. This puts your spine into a 'C' shape with your head jutting out in front of you. But as all good spin instructor‘s cue, make sure you have a long neutral spine with your head placement as a continuation of your spine. If you’ve had a C-section or abdominal separation as a result of your pregnancy, be extra careful of this because the pressure from being folded over can hinder your healing.
4. Don’t Carry the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders
Now more than ever we live a computer heavy life. This causes our shoulders to round forward creating short and tight pectorals coupled with weakness in our upper backs. When you reach forward to hold the handles of a bike it’s really easy to collapse into this posture which only makes things worse. Be sure to find your lats (back muscles) when your hands are forward.
Some things to think of:
Connect your arm pits down towards your hips.
Imagine wear a heavy diamond necklace across your collarbones while riding. Show it off to everyone!
Make sure to spend some time after class performing chest opening stretches such as laying on your back and doing snow angels, or even better, doing them while laying on a foam roller.
5. Happy Hips
When sitting on a bike your hips are forced into flexion. This can leads to tight (and probably weak) hip flexors flexors - specifically your rectus femoris and your psoas. While there’s no way to avoid this during class, make sure to take some time after class to stretch out and release those hip flexors.
My favorite is the gentle psoas release:
Lay on your back
Place a pillow or bolster under your head and shoulders only
Allow gravity to sink your bottom most ribs. No forcing!
Take some deep breaths
Stay there until your pelvis releases into neutral
I mean, what says ‘“mom” more than an exercise where you can just pretend you’re sleeping?
There you have it. Check in with these 5 things before hopping on your bike for the best and safest postpartum ride!