In Part One of the article, I discussed how to do an effective warm up and the important factors to keep in mind when you are exercising while pregnant.
Namely, the benefits exercise will give your child in utero and performing workouts safely.
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In this section of the article, I will walk you through six sure, safe stability ball exercises for you to try during your pregnancy, and how to take care of your body and baby afterwards.
Exercise 1 – Ball pushups
Starting Position: place the ball at the base of a wall on the floor. Kneel on a yoga mat or soft surface and place hands on either side of the ball.
Movement: lower chest towards the ball keeping a neutral alignment in the spine.
Notes: elbows should be out to the side. Do not drop your chin to your chest and lead the movement with the chest. Make sure to engage your core (hug baby to spine).
Starting Position: place the ball against the wall and lean on it with placement in the lower back. Feet should be shoulder width apart and stepped out about 12 inches in front of you.
Movement: lower down slowly so the ball rides up the back as you squat down. Lower yourself until your quads are about parallel to the floor, slowly stand back up.
Notes: your knees need to be behind your toes. Also, your knees should be in line with the heels when fully lowered. Be sure to keep your spine neutral. Push weight through the heel or back of the foot.
Exercise 3 – Arm press back
Starting Position: stand straight and hold the ball behind the back with a hand on either side.
Movement: slowly lift the ball away from the body. The movement should come from the shoulder joint and not the elbows.
Notes: your elbows should remain soft through the movement.
Exercise 4 – Core knee lifts
Starting Position: sit on the ball, keep a neutral spine and keep your feet shoulder width apart.
Movement: brace your abs and lift one foot off the floor. Steady the body by stabilizing the core, place foot down and repeat on the other side.
Notes: you want to be on a ball so that when you sit on it your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Ensure the ball is not too small as it can make your position too low for the exercise.
Exercise 5 – Touch & reach
Starting Position: hold the ball in your hands over your head. Keep your stance wide.
Movement: bend through the knees, hinge in the hips and lower the ball in front of you down to the floor. Then, straighten up so you are standing and swing the ball overhead.
Notes: keep your head above the heart when you bend down. Take care not round through the back and shoulders and keep neutral spine through the movement.
Exercise 6 – Leaning baby hugs
Starting Position: place the ball on the floor. Kneel on a yoga mat or soft surface and place your forearms on top of the ball with your hands clasped together. Make yourself comfortable and keep your spine neutral.
Movement: without moving through the spine, exhale and hug your baby towards your spine. On the inhale allow the stomach to relax.
Notes: in this exercise we are engaging the transverse abdomonis, so draw the belly button in. Your elbows should be out to the side to stabilize the ball. Do not at any point hold your breath.
After you have completed the workout you should spend 5 minutes stretching. Chest, hip flexors, glutes, adductors, abductors, hamstrings all get really tight during pregnancy so start with those areas first.
As mentioned before, do not push too hard into the stretch or hold for prolonged periods of time.
I am in the process of releasing an EBook in late Spring of 30 exercises that are safe for pregnancy and each trimester. To be notified of the release date send me a quick message through my Expert Page and write Pregnancy eBook in the subject line.
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