You’ve probably heard that exercise is great for pregnancy. But there are so many options to choose from, so how can you tell what types of exercise are best? A top pick is definitely Pilates. It’s considered by many to be the most beneficial and effective form of exercise that contributes to healthy pregnancy, delivery and recovery.
Here are some good reasons why you should consider Pilates in pregnancy and a selection of exercises to help you get started with your regimen.
Here are a few good reasons why you should choose Pilates for your prenatal workout routine:
- It builds strong abdominal muscles – just perfect to support your back and spine for carrying that extra weight with you
- It helps to develop a better posture – which is crucial for reducing back ache many pregnant women experience
- It strengthens the pelvic floor – which as you know is key to healthy pregnancy, delivery and recovery
- It helps to calm you down – deep breathing exercises are just great for staying focused on what matters, and not letting fear or anxiety get to you.
Now that you know why Pilates is a great idea for your prenatal workout, here are some basic pilates pregnancy exercises for you to try and use as the foundation for your training plan.
#1. Theraband Arm Training
Squeeze your shoulder blades down your back. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged, focus on obliques as well. This is the time to release all the tension you might be feeling in your neck.
This exercise is designed to strengthen the arms, which will save you a lot of pain once you get to hold your baby. To add some more pelvic and abdominal engagement, try sitting on a stability ball.
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#2. Lateral Pull and Calf Rise
Again, squeeze your shoulder blades down your back as if you were sliding them into your back pockets. Grab the bar behind you and pull your arms straight back for an amazing chest stretch. This is how you allow your chest to open.
The added calf rises will only help you in reaching a kind of physical balance – which is pretty difficult with the growing belly and changing center of gravity. This exercise will strengthen your posterior core and leave you relaxed.
#3. Chest Stretch
This is an an active-stretch exercise targeting your torso. Naturally, it works best in early pregnancy – later on you may choose to skip it, as it becomes much too difficult with the big belly.
Use a heavier spring for support in this pregnancy pilates exercises. To support your abdominal muscles, place a box under your feet.
Lift and lower your torso. As you press the pedal of your Wunda chair down, enjoy a deep stretch through your chest.
#4. Theraband Neck Stretch
Secure your theraband to something located below your waist height that is fixed to the floor. Relax and let the theraband pull your muscles. Avoid pulling the band towards you – it’s just a stretch exercise.
See Also: Importance of Nutrition When Pregnant
This exercise is excellent for targeting the neck, helping you to properly stretch it and address any traps that might be causing you headaches.
#5. Long Box Leg Sweeps
Kneel on the long box. Now it’s time for two kinds of movement – a straight leg sweep and a side kick. Alternate these movements ensuring that you’re using your glutes to extend your moving leg parallel to the floor. Avoid arching your lower back.
Contract your obliques to control knee kicks – these muscles work for that core that keeps your baby in place. That’s why they deserve to be stretched and strengthened. You’ll be using your entire body during this pilates exercise, building your core and upper body strength, as well as elongating the front and challenging your balance.
#6. Side Thigh Press
Lay down on the reformer. Place the ball where it feels comfortable – some days you might feel like supporting your rib cage, other times you might need more head support. Press your tights and push through the heel of your foot to engage your glutes.
Thighs are definitely worth your attention during pregnancy. If you incorporate this exercise into your daily routine, you’ll easily deal with any cellulite problem that might arise during these nine months. Lying down is easy and you still get an efficient burn.
#7. Train Your Hips with the Wunda Chair
A word of warning – avoid this exercise if your hips are too lose. Listen closely to your body and go as far as you feel safe and comfortable.
The idea behind this pregnancy pilates exercises is to accommodate the pain and discomfort you might be feeling as your hips are being pulled apart in preparation for the delivery. This simple stretch will help you get rid of this pain.
Place one leg across the chair and keep the foot of your other leg on the floor. Gently lower yourself towards the leg resting on the Wunda chair, and then rise. Use the sprigs for supporting your upper body – this is where you should rest your arms.
Try these 7 exercises to make the most out of Pilates in your prenatal workout routine. You’ll strengthen various muscle areas of your body and stay healthy while waiting for your baby to arrive.
Author Bio: James Norwick is a fitness freak, health enthusiast and a blogger writing for Bend + Mend – physiotherapy experts. James believes that proper exercises and diet may lead to a much better life and constantly promotes a healthy lifestyle.