3 Of My Favorite Core Exercises While Pregnant
Now these exercises ARE NOT limited to only pre/post-natal clients. These exercises are in fact great for everyone of all ages and fitness levels to add into their programming. If you are pregnant and have never done these exercises before – like always PLEASE contact your medical provider before starting a new fitness routine.
· It can be added to your warm up/cool down of your workout routine.
· Can be added after a heavy exercise for active rest.
· Can be added to any conditioning circuit (AMRAP, EMOM- as long as performed correctly and not moving too fast.)
· Increase core strength and overall body control.
· Evens out asymmetries and imbalances between the left and right sides.
Beginners who struggle with balance and core stability can begin by performing only the arms or the legs component of the exercise, or by keeping their arms and legs lower to the ground to start.
Intermediate and advanced exercisers can challenge themselves by holding the position longer, integrating dynamic breathing, or adding resistance to the exercise with bands.
How to perform:
1. Go down to the ground in a quadruped position (on hands and knees)
2. Make sure your hands are right under your shoulders and your knees are right under your hips
3. Breathing – exhale as you extend out, inhale as you return to starting position. Make sure you tuck your ribs (think like you would in a crunch) and don’t flare your ribs
Slowly and simultaneously extend your arm and opposite leg until they are straight and off the floor (make sure to stay neutral – do not lift your head, continue to look straight down at the ground)
Don't lift your arm or leg past parallel to the floor – your spine will become arched and will no longer be in a neutral position
Slowly return to the starting position
Reset and repeat with the opposite arm and opposite leg
Remember that the goal of the exercise isn’t speed, but control!
**SPINE SHOULD ALAWAYS BE IN A NEUTRAL POSITION***
Video for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwov6rrb7Hw
· It targets the main glute muscle – as long as you move through your hips and glutes and NOT your lower back, which the GLUTES are extremely important when in the pushing phase of labor
· Help stabilize and support low back/pelvic floor
· Helps decrease back and hip pain
· Helps stay in alignment and positioning in pelvis for baby
Beginners can begin by performing only with body weight (if you are not a beginner but no longer feel comfortable being flat on the ground, you can perform a table bridge).
· To perform a table bridge. Sit on ground with legs flat on ground slightly in front of you. Place hands under shoulders and elevate hips towards the sky. It is easy to push off from your shoulders – but try to push through your heels as you elevate upwards and squeeze the glutes at the top.
Intermediate and advanced exercisers can perform the exercise with added weight and/or resistance.
How to perform:
1. Lie on your back with your heels close to your butt and knees pointed up towards the sky.
2. Press heels down into ground and elevate your hips off the ground (remember drive through your heels, do not lift from your back), squeeze your glutes at the top position (make sure to keep neck and shoulders on the ground)
3. Breathing – exhale as you elevate off the ground, inhale as you return to starting position.
Later in pregnancy (for some after 16/20 weeks pregnant), you may want to elevate your shoulder slightly on pillows or a yoga wedge or a table bridge. This will alleviate any added pressure that potentially cause dizziness.
Video for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6PSD1sptOQ
· Safe through each trimester of pregnancy
· Strengthen your core
· Is a full body pose – works not only your core, but your legs and shoulders
· Improves balance
Beginners can begin by performing only the knees on the ground during the exercise (knees stacked up under one another).
Intermediate can begin by performing the exercise with the bottom knee on the ground during the exercise with the top leg extended out.
Advanced exercisers can challenge themselves by holding the position in a fully stacked side lunge as well as for a longer period of time.
How to perform:
1. Lie on your side in a straight line from head to feet, while resting on your forearm
2. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder
3. Gently contracted your abdominal muscles before lifting your hips off the ground (keeping your body in a straight line – aka neutral)
4. Hold for 15-30 seconds
Video for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4diGrKoZz8
ALWAYS STOP THESE EXERCISES IF YOU:
1. DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE PERFORMING THEM ANYMORE
2. FEEL PRESSURE, SEE CONING/DOMING IN YOUR ABDOMINALS
3. BECOME FAINT OR DIZZY
4. IF ADVISED AGAINST FROM YOUR TRAINER OR MEDICAL PROVIDER
Don't let your pregnancy limit you from keeping your core strong!
Meg DeSalvo Fit
Link to all three exercises on YouTube