If you’re a regular reader of my ramblings, you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of interval training for my pre and postnatal clients.
Interval training provides several benefits including:
- Time-saving – for you and your clients
- Fat-burning – great for new mums
- Full-body workout – who doesn’t want that?
Interval training tends to lend itself to high intensity, and I can’t say I’m all over that for pre/postnatal, but with a few modifications – it’s brilliant.
I refer to HIIT as MIIT – which stands for Mummy-Intensity Interval Training.
Pretty cool, eh?
Here are my top tips for making MIIT with your mums-to-be and new mums successful:
STOPWATCH / TIMER
You’ll need a stopwatch or timer obviously to run a successful MIIT session.
I use the latter and just carry it around with me if the ladies are doing an old-fashioned style circuit, or leave it on the floor or a chair whilst I’m at the front demonstrating the exercises.
The stopwatch I use was given to me by a friend when I qualified as a PT and it’s still going strong – I can’t quite believe it.
Once you’ve sorted out your timer, then you need to sort out your timings.
I tend to do 45 second work and 15 seconds rest for group-style MIIT and if it’s old-fashioned circuits, clients do 60 seconds at each station before moving on to the next one.
Whilst there’s a little bit of ‘thinking on your feet’ possible when teaching an impromptu MIIT session, I’d always suggest having a bit of a plan in your head.
The formula I tend to follow for MIIT is:
- Choose 3-4 exercises, then
- Repeat them 3-4 times.
It’s pretty simple. It requires very little planning and very few brain cells on your part and your clients’!
PROGRESSIONS AND DEGRESSIONS
In an ideal world, you’d have all of the clients who are in their second trimester in one class, and those in their third trimester in another, but we all know, that would never happen.
Similarly, postnatal women of varying fitness levels, exercise experience and degrees of postnatal recovery probably should be in different group environments too, but again – that’s quite a stretch, isn’t it?
How to combat this though is think of progressions and regressions to keep everyone happy.
I tend to offer 2-4 options of the same exercise, adding things on gradually throughout the first set.
Yes, there will always be a client who thinks they’re ready for the higher level when they’re probably not.
Use your own judgement here. If you personally don’t think a client should be doing that version of the exercise, just say so, publicly during class and give a brief reason.
Decide whether you’re going to use equipment or not.
If you’re an equipment-poor instructor like me, you may only have access to:
- A wall
- Resistance bands
- The odd handweight
- A swiss ball or two
- A few kettlebells
- Exercise mats
- Outdoor furniture (if you run an outdoor class)
- A few set of gliders, and
- Some over balls (Bender balls)
Make use of them if you wish, but if you’re doing a group-style MIIT session where everyone’s doing the same thing at the same time, you’ll obviously need enough bits and pieces with you.
And, if you’re using equipment, consider using it for each exercise too, so people don’t need to mess about putting it out of harms’ way for one exercise, only to pick it up and use it for the next one.
EXERCISE AND EDUCATE
Plan your exercise circuit or MIIT session with purpose.
Explain to your new mums WHY you’re doing this exercise and how it will benefit them.
Educate your pregnant clients about the need to strengthen these muscles not just for pregnancy, but for labour and beyond too.
I chat constantly over the head mic when I’m teaching. If you’ve ever worked in radio or in a call centre, you’ll know the meaning of ‘dead air’ – I simply can’t stay silent!
So, I guess what I’m saying here is: make MIIT relevant to the client standing in front of you.
And there you have it!
My top tips for running a successful Mummy-Intensity Interval Training session.
Are you going to try out some of these tips for your classes?
Did you find this article interesting?
Do you already do a lot of circuit-style sessions with your pre/postnatal clients?
I’d love to hear from you.