Last week I wrote about how to exercise safely while pregnant so this week I wanted to continue with that topic and put together an easy workout to do throughout your entire pregnancy.
In my opinion as a trainer, you train for pregnancy just as you would train for anything else you are about to take on in life. Delivering a baby is just as hard, if not more, as completing an Ironman in my “never borne a child” opinion. This means your exercises need to be specific to your goal, which is a strong, healthy body that can carry a strong and healthy baby to term and then bounce back to its old self later.
This program is focused on undoing everything that being pregnant does to you and your body. It is meant to help open your hips, strengthen your glutes, create stability in your core, open your chest, strengthen your back and help keep your posture tall. All you need is a stability ball and an exercise band (and somewhere to attach it). You can add this routine in to what you are currently doing at the gym or simply focus on this routine alone throughout your pregnancy. If you are pregnant and new to exercise, or if you have any questions regarding how to exercise safely while pregnant, it is always best to seek medical advice.
All Four Abdominals
This is one of my favourite transverse and pelvic floor exercises as it is so deep and so focused (but not the most attractive of positions I might add). Begin on all fours with your shoulders directly over your hands and your knees directly under you hips. Rock forward and back a few times to find your center and then settle in the middle, with your weight balanced on your knees and hands. Take a big inhale through your nose and allow your baby belly to lower and expand to the floor. Think about widening through your sit bones but keep your spine in a straight line. On the exhale, gather your abs around your baby and begin to draw everything in and up inside, almost like you are trying to pull your baby to your spine and away from your pelvis. Repeat 4-6 times, or as much as you like as this will feel amazing in your body.
All Fours Arm and Leg Reach
After you finish your deep belly breathing above, set your shoulder blades along the sides of your ribs, draw your belly deeper and extend out your right arm and left leg. Hold that there for three breaths, and with each exhale, pull your belly in deeper and with each inhale lift your arm and leg higher. Repeat twice on each side.
Serve a Tray
I am stealing this exercise from Joseph Pilates himself, except I am going to add my own touch to it. Take an exercise band and attach it to something that is slightly higher than you will be while sitting on a ball. Sit on the ball with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, left hand on your left hip and your right hand holding the cable with your palm up. Inhale to press the cable away from you, then keep your body (and the ball) still while you reach your arm out to the side (this will open your chest). Bring your arm back out front then return it to where you began. Repeat 10 times then switch to the other side.
Single Arm Presses
Stay on the ball, but take your feet and bring them together with your knees open to the side (this may be too much for some so feel free to keep feet flat and knees together). Sit forward slightly on your sit bones while you press your arm straight. Keep your body long and tall and bend your elbow back to 90 degrees. Repeat 10 times then do the same on the other side.
Single Leg Standing Rows
Stand with your thighs in line and your right foot resting on top of a ball. Think about pulling your pubic bone forward to connect it to your breast bone and hold the cable in your right hand. Draw the cable to the ribs (like doing a row) while you draw your belly in deep then release the arm and extend the leg out behind you without extending your low back. Repeat 10 to 20 times before doing the same on the other side.
Horseback Cable Pulls
Put the ball between your knees and squeeze it from your inner thighs. Pull your pubic bone forward just a bit to engage your low belly and find the squeeze to the ball deep from your abdominals (your pubic bones should be unloaded off the ball). As you keep the ball squeezed tight, hold the cable outstretched in both hands and pull it open, so your arms reach by your side. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Release and repeat 10 – 20 times.
Cable Semi Circles
Stand while holding the cable perpendicular to the wall. Reach your arms out, keeping your shoulders down then lift the cable up over your head while maintaining the best posture that you can. Circle the cable to the outside, making a half moon shape, then bring it back to center and up again. Repeat 10 times then turn around and do it again on the other side.
Go through this workout one to three times and two to four days a week. Have fun with it but also, listen to your body.