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5 Exercises To Build/Maintain Strength During Pregnancy

Some of the most common problems you may come across during your pregnancy is the very uncomfortable and painful aches that can occur. The most common ones are sciatica, back pain, hip pain, and pelvic pain.

The most common ones are sciatica, back pain, hip pain, and pelvic pain.

Aches and pains during pregnancy seem to be seen as a given and the common phrase is ‘well you’re pregnant, it’s normal’, and whilst in some respects, this may be true, that doesn’t mean normal is right, does it?

Just because something is common, doesn’t mean we have to live with it and accept it as something unchangeable.

Just because something is common, doesn’t mean we have to live with it

I managed to go through 9 months of pregnancy, ending up with a very large bump indeed and had absolutely no back pain, sciatica, hip pain or pelvic pain. And I have now helped many women to avoid or lessen the same problems.

“The findings of a 2018 study suggest that about 32% of pregnant women report hip pain at some point during the pregnancy.”

The reason it’s so common is because of the hormone relaxin. This hormone get’s stronger and stronger as you go through your pregnancy and it’s a good thing it does because it makes your body more mobile and able to give birth. It allows your bones, muscles, and tendons to move and shift for the growth and birth of your baby.

The only problem with relaxin is it makes your body softer and your joints looser, which can make you more susceptible to injury and aches and pains.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID INJURIES AND ACHES AND PAINS?

 

Get stronger! You almost need to imagine that you have suddenly become hyper mobile because the way a hyper mobile person should help themselves in avoiding injuries due to loose joints is by strengthening the supporting muscles.

So, exercise during pregnancy is absolutely key and, in my opinion, essential to your wellbeing. In fact, even the American College of obstetricians and gynaecologists says that “Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your fetus in these key ways:

  • Reduces back pain
  • Eases constipation
  • May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean birth
  • Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Improves your overall fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
  • Helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born”

 

Certainly sounds like very good reasons to stay strong during pregnancy to me.

Get stronger!

WHAT ARE THE BEST FORMS OF EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY

 

All exercise is great, but the winners are Yoga and walking. Yoga is one of the best forms of body weight strengthening and allows you to work all your muscles and joints in one session, instead of having to work upper body one day, lower body the next etc. and walking is great for cardio.

HERE ARE MY 5 TOP EXERCISES FOR YOU TO DO DURING YOUR PREGNANCY

 

Glute bridges:

These are amazing for strong glutes, which are essential for pelvic stability.

 

Step 1: lay on your back with your feet elevated on some bricks or books

Step 2: draw your feet back without moving them and knees forward, this will start to lift your pelvis with a long spine

Step 3: Lift your pelvis to a point where you’re in one diagonal line and pelvis is in the same line as your ribs, not tipped forwards, causing an arch in the lower back

Step 4: You can either hold this for 3 breaths or come up and down as many times as you can. You should be feeling mainly glutes and hamstrings. The front of your thighs should be soft throughout

Balancing:

 

This one is amazing for maintaining core strength and it’s fun too

 

Step 1: Bring your weight onto your right foot

Step 2: Bring your arms out to the sides

Step 3: bring the left leg up and move it from the hip as if writing a number 8 on the wall in front of you

Step 4: lean over the right hip, keeping your body in one diagonal line. You should then start to feel your outer glute (butt muscle) engage

Step 3: Slowly and with as much control as you can bring your right leg round to the back you can make a number 8 here too then back round to the front

Step 4: You can make this harder by lifting the supporting foot up onto a brick

 

Reverse table/plank:

This is one to do to get stronger in your upper body, which we all need really but you’re definitely going to need it after your baby has been born

 

Step 1: sit down and place your hands on 2 bricks either side of your hips.

Step 2: oush down into your hands and lift your chest towards the ceiling, without popping your ribs forwards

Step 3: Pull back through your feet and forwards with your knees to bring your pelvis up. Keep the shoulders open

Step 4: You can simply hold this position, go in and out of it or to add a further challenge, maintaining a stable pelvis take the right heel out, then back in and then the left. The pelvis shouldn’t move at all throughout those transitions. If it does then stick with a static hold until you build up strength

Rhomboid Press up:

 

I love this one for so many reasons. Firstly, it releases the upper back, which gets super tight during pregnancy and secondly because it builds strength AND mobility in the shoulder blades. All those things are so important to avoid back pain during pregnancy because we need mobility in the upper body to stop us from doing everything from the lower back and you’re going to need that stability and mobility when your baby arrives too.

 

Step 1: Come to your hands and knees

Step 2: keep your head, spine and pelvis in a neutral position; all lined up with each other

Step 3: Drop the chest only towards the floor to allow the shoulder blades to glide together on the back

Step 4: Push down through your hands and out to keep your shoulders and chest open then press the shoulder blades apart, thereby lifting the upper spine back up to mee the cervical (neck) spine

Step 5: Repeat until you feel super warm between the shoulder blades

Heel dance:

 

This is a fabulous foot and lower body exercise that builds strength in the feet, ankles and legs, thereby supporting your whole body. Which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is very important to avoid injury throughout pregnancy.

 

Step 1: Step into a wide stance

Step 2: turn your legs out from your hips so that the knees track over your middle toes, not inwards

Step 3: Sit back into your hips, hinging at your hips as needed to get as low as you can comfortably.

Step 4: Now hold that position as you life your right heel, then lower it, then lift your left heel. Repeat that for a few turns

Step 5: Now lift your right heel, hold it up as you lift the left heel and then bring one down at a time. Repeat that a few times

Step 6: Now lift both heels together and then lower both heels together.