Total Gym Core Workout That’s Safe During Pregnancy

Keeping A Strong Core As Your Belly Expands

Whether you are in your first, second or third trimester, core strength and stabilization are tested in pregnancy. Your abdominals and pelvic floor will lengthen, and your back muscles will either shorten or lengthen depending on your posture. As the fetus grows, the uterus moves upward, in fact a common trend has been for the baby to move up and to the right, allowing the heart not to be compressed. The ribcage will often adapt by expanding thus affecting the obliques, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis. It becomes important to keep the core strong yet pliable.
This routine focuses on improving posture and stabilization. With all movements, keep a gentle pelvic floor contraction, a sensation of gently pulling the navel into the spine (not sucking in the belly and compressing the baby-gentle is the key) and sliding the shoulder blades down the back and maintaining a neutral pelvic alignment.

Please note with all exercise programs and implementation, a MD clearance is advisable.

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Push Ups OR Planking alternating from hand to forearms (up up down down),3-7 (low to moderate intensity),”Higher inclines are easier. Ensure shoulders are sliding away from the ears. Think of the body in one straight line. Modification would be to perform on the knees. A progression may be push-ups with the glideboard in an open position, i.e. away from the base.”
Low kneeling Pull Ups,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),”Allow the legs to open to accommodate the belly. Higher inclines will focus more on strength. If low kneeling is compressing the knees, then place a pillow between the buttocks and lower legs. Focus on sliding the shoulders away from the ears. Squat standing on floor. Focus on full range of motion and leading with the hips moving backward versus the knees driving forward. Use the glideboard as visualization for sitting back into a chair.”
Plank with or without arm movement,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),”Higher inclines are easier for upper body strength in a plank, however if moving the glideboard it does become heavier the higher the incline. Exercise can also be performed on the knee and/or a repeat of the first plank exercise can also be substituted here. Think of the body in one straight line. Because the belly may be pulling toward the glideboard and swaying the back, you might think of a string on the tailbone lifting the hips up to the sky.”
Low Kneeling Surfer,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),””
Side Plank Right,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),””
Kneeling Plank with hands on Toe Bar,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),Note sometimes too light of a resistance might challenge stabilization even more.
Side Plank Left,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),””
Hands and knees Shoulder Extension.,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),Note sometimes too light of a resistance might challenge stabilization even more.
Hands and knees opposite shoulder and hip extension.,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),Note sometimes too light of a resistance might challenge stabilization even more.
Child’s pose stretch,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),”Visualize the arms lengthening for the tower and the tailbone sinking toward the floor and base. Allow the breath to move into the sides and back of the ribcages. This is also a great way to perform a keel, i.e. a pelvic floor contraction as the baby may not be placing as much weight into the pelvis.”
LAT Stretch,3-7 (low to moderate intensity),”Facing the tower, caddy corner the legs to the right while trunk rotates to the right to reaching the left arm for the right rail. Focus on the breath and lengthening the sides of the body. Switch sides.”

Elizabeth Leeds, DPT

Elizabeth Leeds, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training, and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

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