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keep your core strong workout during pregnancy

by Heather

I’m totally throwing you off your game huh? It’s Wednesday and there are no pictures of a veggie or fruit! The weekly pregnancy update will have to wait a day or two. Honestly, I just haven’t had the time to think about it and write it up. This week’s very busy at work with me working 9-10 hour days. By the time I get home I’m mentally drained.

I wanted to follow up on yesterday’s post on strengthening your core, specifically during pregnancy. During my lunch break I read some more in pre- post- natal fitness by ACE. I had actually left off right where I wanted to end up, abdominal exercises!

I mentioned some of my Internet findings yesterday…

“Don’t use your core at all!” “Any type of ab workout will only harm you!”

I am happy to report I did not find the same info in my book. Glad to know the American Council on Exercise is a little more advanced in their findings.

Your abs, and entire core, are extremely important to keep strong at all times, and especially during pregnancy. The extra frontal weight can cause an unnatural and exaggerated curve in the low back. By maintaining strong core strength you can help keep your spine in a neutral alignment, alleviating low back pain and problems.

The most important area to focus on are the transverse abdominis. Those are the deep abs you don’t see. They help you with stability, balance and posture.

One area that pregnancy women should not focus too heavily on are twists and rotations. While keeping your obliques strong will keep your muscles balances, the side to side pulling from the mid line that it does on your abs is not what you want. That could help contribute to diastasis recti, separation of the abs horizontally.

So what does all that mean? Planks and c-sits are in, while tons of mason twists are out.

I’m not saying I won’t be doing those rotating/twisting exercises, because I do when I teach, I just won’t include them in the additional core work I’ll be doing 3X a week.

the plan

Three times a week (likely Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) I’ll add in the following ab routine.

In addition, I sit on an exercise ball at work all day. And I sometimes get a little lazy about contracting my abs. I’ve set a reminder for every 2 hours at work to remind me to contract my abs. I’ll contract + hold for 15 seconds, then relax for 15 seconds. Repeat 10 times for a total of just 5 minutes of focused contractions.

the workout – week 1

  • high plank (30 seconds)
  • side plank right side (30 seconds)
  • low plank (30 seconds)
  • side plank left side (30 seconds)
  • seated slow reverse crunches – 25 reps (start seated and slowly begin to lower your upper body about halfway to the ground)
  • seated reverse crunch hold (30 seconds)
  • bridge lift with pelvic tilt – 25 reps

Repeat 2 more times through for a total of 3 rounds. Finish with a few cat + cow stretches and you’re done!

This is week 1 to building or maintaining a strong core. You don’t see any traditional crunches here, although I will continue to do those in my workout classes. These exercises will focus on building that deep abdominal strength.

I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know if you have any questions and do share your thoughts on it.



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0 comment

Nicole, RD December 7, 2011 - 10:47 am

I hope I’m half as motivated as you to have a fit pregnancy! You are an inspiration, Heather! 🙂

Get Healthy with Heather December 9, 2011 - 8:43 am

Awww thanks Nicole! I bet you’ll be an active mama too

Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life December 8, 2011 - 6:14 am

This looks like an awesome core pregnancy workout! I’ve been doing so many plank variations they are beginning to drive me crazy but I know how beneficial they are!

Get Healthy with Heather December 9, 2011 - 8:42 am

Haha yeah I see a lot of planks happening the whole pregnancy 🙂

Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers December 9, 2011 - 7:38 am

Interesting findings. I have to admit though, when I read about separation of the abs I go the heebie-jeebies. haha

Get Healthy with Heather December 9, 2011 - 8:27 am

Yeah I imagine if I could feel the separation it would feel really weird!

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