Postpartum Workout Gear: Recommendations from a Physical Therapist
A conversation I often have with a majority of postpartum moms includes “What comfortable workout clothes do you recommend?” or "What postpartum workout gear do you recommend?"
The reality is your body is different than it was prenatally, and that is okay! Your body is beautiful and amazing for what just happened. You spent nine months growing another human! That is amazing. Also, it is okay to not be the same weight or look the same as you once did before your pregnancy. Especially in the early months postpartum, you may not feel completely like yourself, and I get you! So what if I told you that you could feel physically and mentally great in your body?
Feeling good in your body begins with fueling your body appropriately, and sleeping (as able) to allow for recovery. You will also need to adjust your workouts to include core-specific strengthening and progressive strength training and a mobility program. Last but not least, feeling good involves your NEW WORKOUT CLOTHES! Going to the gym in the clothes you wore prior to your pregnancy can feel uncomfortable, especially if you are breastfeeding, as your bras may need more support due to hormonal changes.
This article is about some of my favorite postpartum workout clothes to consider purchasing and why they will be an awesome addition to your closet as you return to exercise postpartum. Returning to exercise postpartum may be challenging, but in the right postpartum workout gear, you'll feel better about it.
As a disclaimer, I am going to start by saying that everyone is of different shapes and sizes. I tried to hit various sizes and brands but not every brand will work for everyone, so try various ones before you find the perfect fit for you.
Let’s start from the top!
Postpartum Workout Gear:
Sports bras: Having a comfortable sports bra is KEY in returning to running and higher impact activities postpartum. Whether or not you are breastfeeding or not, your top has changed due to hormones which means support is important. I have included sports bras that are easy to wear when breastfeeding, because who likes to pull a tight sweaty sports bra over to feed?
- Underamrmour High Crossback Zip Sports bra This sports bra is so easy to get on and off for feedings. It is supportive and amazing for high-impact sports, keeping everything compressed and in place.
- Athleta Advanced Zip Bra This sports bra is great for high-impact workouts such as running, HIIT workouts, and jumping-type exercises. This bra is supportive for most bra sizes including up to a D-DD cup size.
- Delimira High Impact Bra Amazon This sports bra is supportive and has very comfortable straps. It is easy to unstrap from the front for nursing and has a large clasp in the back.
- Belly Bandit active Sports nursing bra This sports bra is very adjustable for all sizes, has straps that won't dig into the skin, and is very supportive. It is an easy bra to wear for nursing.
Postpartum Workout Leggings
Finding a pair of workout leggings that fit your body comfortably can make a huge difference in your “want” to workout. The type of legging is going to look and feel different for everyone. Rule of thumb, the things I look for include comfort and compression- BUT just the right amount. You do not want to take off your leggings and see a red stripe or indentation because the leggings are sucking your stomach in to the MAX. Find leggings that give you the right amount of compression so that it feels comfortable and secure, without cutting off circulation. Also, comfort is so important; wearing leggings that are too big and slide or too small and ride up is NO fun. Consider going to stores to try the leggings on before purchase, if possible.
- My absolute favorite- during pregnancy and postpartum is lulu Align High rise These leggings are super soft, comfortable, have pockets, and are HIGH RISE. They never move or cause chafe when running or when changing positions, and are worth the investment! The one thing about this item is they run small. So try not to get down when you are a larger size than normal.
- OFFLINE by aerie These leggings are very cute with a crossover waistband. They are also comfortable and lightweight making them easy to wear in yoga class or when walking. Also HIGH rise!
- Belly Bandit Leggings These leggings are high-rise and comfortable. With just the right amount of compression, these leggings are a must. The one issue is they are not the best for running or higher impact sports. I am also not the biggest fan of some of the language used on this website, but I do love the leggings. Just know, no one is expecting you to "bounce back" and "go back to pre-pregnancy weight." This may feel like a goal for you, but what is really important is feeling strong in your body so you can continue to care for your children.
Postpartum Workout Shorts:
Depending on the short length and waist size this can be tricky to find the right combination for you. After chatting with many moms, most say they like some support under the shorts, so I found two pairs that my clients rave about.
- Nike Flex Essential 2-in-1 shorts 2 in 1, aka shorts and short tights in one! These are awesome and very comfortable especially for running. They aid in preventing chafe, HUGE upside.
- Athleta Salutation Short These short tights don’t ride up! And they have pockets and are true to size.
So now that you have some recommendations on clothing, go out there and crush it in your workouts. And you'll have the added benefit of looking fabulous and comfortable while you do it! I'd love to know, what are your favorite postpartum workout clothes brands? email me at [email protected] to give me more of your favorite suggestions.
Otherwise, if you are ready to get started in working together or want to learn more about how we can support you in your returning to exercise postpartum. Learn more by booking a complimentary discovery call.