Monday, February 4, 2013

Don't stop: Pre-Natal Exercise

For all my friends out there who are currently pregnant or may be in the future, I wanted to give you a workout you can do in the comfort of your own home. Working out while pregnant can be awkward, especially at the gym with others staring at you. So here is a pre-natal workout I used to teach with my best friend while I was pregnant with baby girl, and she was pregnant with her baby boy. So fun! I've included a few explanations for moves we named ourselves. You can always ask me any questions to clarify. You will need an exercise mat, light weights (I recommend 2-5 lbs), an exercise ball, towel, and lots of water. As always, consult a doctor before beginning any new routine.

Happy fitness!

Pre-Natal Total Body Conditioning

Warm-up (10 min)
Using ball: do 2 or 3 sets of 8
- small bounces on ball
- figure 8 with your hips
- pelvic rolls, front to back then side to side

At this point place the ball to the side to complete the warm up. Do 2-3 sets of 8 repetitions of each exercise.
- squats
- plie squats
- step touch, adding any arms
- grapevine
- three steps up, three steps back
- V-step
- jumping jacks, modified

Cardio/Strength Circuits
7 circuits, 4 minutes each consisting of 2 min cardio and 2 min strength. More instructions to follow.

1) Cardio - Hold a half squat and alternate lifting knees up for 30 sec, Butt Kicks w/arm pull back 30 sec, repeat each move for 30 sec each (total 2 min of cardio)
Strength -Side lunge w/ front arm raise 1 min, flash & eagle 1min (total of 2 min strength)
(flash & eagle: kneel on a mat and hold light weights in each hand, elbows at side, arms bent at 90 degrees, and palms facing each other. Move your arms as if you are opening up a trench coat and "flashing people", then as if you are closing your imaginary coat. That's the flash part. The eagle is to keep arms bent at 90, palms facing each other, but lift arms to shoulder height, as if you were flapping your wings. Hence, the name eagle. So alternate flash and eagle for 1 min)

2) Cardio - Charleston 30 sec, grapevine 30 sec, repeat
Strength - dead lifts 1 min, shoulder press press 1 min

30 sec water break

3) Cardio - basketball drill 30 sec, rocking horse on right 30 sec, repeat doing 2nd move on the left
(basketball drill: squat, holding a pretend basketball, and either jump or stand up pretending to shoot the ball. Rocking horse: lift right knee up and as you lower it, kick left leg straight out to the side. Do this for 30 sec on each side)
Strength: stationary lunges w/ hammer curls 30 sec each leg, bicep curls 1 min

4) Cardio - 4 knees forward, 4 count back walking or running 30 sec, modified jumping jacks 30 sec, repeat sequence
Strength - plie squat with overhead tricep dips for 1 min, chest press w/ back elevated on a wedge or 2-3 pillows for 1 min (do not lay flat on back during pregnancy, even for exercise)

30 sec water break

5) Cardio - crab crawl 30 sec, modified jump rope 30 sec, repeat
(crab crawl: with your butt back, knees over ankles in a half squat, move your legs for 4 counts to the left and then 4 counts to the right as if you are a crab on the beach. Funny I know, but it works. Any arms are fine.)
Strength - chair squat w/ v-fly for 1 min, isolated bicep curls w/ knees on the mat for 1 min

6) Cardio - run in place for 30 sec, side shuffle with weight for 30 sec, repeat
Strength - oblique pull down 30 sec on each side (use wall for balance), tricep extensions 1 min

30 sec water break

Pilates Inspired Floor Work - do a set of 8 for each exercise
  • Reverse plank, from seated with legs extended up onto all 4s and back
  • top leg lift - lay on right side, bottom leg bent, bottom arm extended
  • same position, small leg circles forward
  • same position, reverse circles
  • same position, single leg bicycle
  • same position, reverse bicycle
  • same position, inner thigh lift (move top leg over bottom leg, and lift bottom leg)
  • SWITCH SIDES and repeat all exercises starting with the top leg lift
  • move onto all 4s, right leg extended, lift and lower
  • same leg, knee in and out
  • same leg, move onto elbows, leg extended and lifted to back height, 3 heel pumps in towards butt and extend
  • SWITCH LEGS and repeat exercises from leg lift and lower
  • Stay on all 4s, tuck toes under, use kegel and pelvic floor muscles to lift knees off of the ground and lower (repeat 4 times only, slowly)
  • Still of all 4s, Double leg kicks (3 pumps , kicking heels towards butt) into child's pose, them roll up onto knees, open chest to stretch with your arms behind your back (repeat this sequence 4 times slowly, ending on your knees)
  • on knees take 2 deep breaths , with arms, inhale, exhale
Kegel Exercises - complete 5 min of kegels

Stretching and Breathing - so important during pregnancy. Please complete at least 10 minutes of stretching, concentrating on your breathing and going slowly. Some of my favorites include single leg extensions, sciatic stretch, quad stretch laying on your side (you may loose your balance standing), cat stretch, arms across the body, deep breathing sitting with hands on belly and heart.

I hope that you can use some or all of this workout to help you exercise through your pregnancy. Stay healthy and fit - it will make for an easy labor, delivery and recovery.

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