Stay Strong During Pregnancy with 4 Strength Training Exercises
A few months ago, Lea-Ann Ellison made waves when photos of her weight lifting two weeks before her due date went viral. She was met with combination of criticism and encouragement. A follower of CrossFit, Ellison was un-phased, especially considering she’d already had two healthy pregnancies. Regardless of how you feel about her decision to keep working out aggressively during pregnancy, staying fit during this time is important.
If strength training is more your thing, consider these 4 exercises for staying strong during pregnancy:
Kegel exercises: Like to multitask? Kegels, an exercise which helps strengthen your pelvic floor, is an easy one to do, anytime. The muscle group, which controls the flow of urine and the contraction of the vagina and anal sphincter (and can be weakened by the pressures of pregnancy and delivery)—may be done any time of the day or night, no matter what else you’re in the middle of doing. Here’s why you should be doing kegels: they prevent urinary incontinence (um, that’s a good thing) and secondly, they can tone your pelvic floor in preparation for labor— and possibly help you avoid an episiotomy.
Excuse the TMI, but all you have to do is stop the flow of urine the next time you’re on the toilet. The muscles you use are the ones you’ll want to tense up when doing your kegels. Try tensing and holding these muscles for as long as you can, working up to eight or ten seconds. Then slowly relax them. Keep practicing until you can do three sets of ten to 20 each day.
Leg lifts: Leg lifts use your body’s weight to tone your thigh muscles. Lie on your left side with your shoulders, hips, and knees lined up straight. Support yourself by holding your head with your left arm and placing your right arm on the floor in front of you. Slowly lift your right leg as high as you comfortably can (don’t forget to breathe!). Do ten reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Pelvic tilts: This exercise can help improve your posture (a common problem in pregnancy), strengthen your abs (reducing back pain), and help prepare you for labor. Here’s what you do: stand with your back against a wall and relax your spine. As you inhale, press the small of your back against the wall. Exhale, then repeat a few times. For a variation that also helps reduce the pain of sciatica, try rocking your pelvis back and forth—keeping your back straight—while either kneeling on all fours or standing up.
Squats: Yay for exercise that strengthens and tones your thighs! Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, bend at the knees and slowly lower yourself as close to the ground (as you comfortably can), keeping heels on the ground. If you can’t, try moving your feet farther apart. Hold the squat for ten to 30 seconds, then slowly come back to a standing position. Repeat five times.
You’re well on your way to a strong and toned body, mamas!
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN