If you work with ante natal women then here are 3 exercises which help to engage the core and pelvic floor muscles. It is so important to focus on maintaining strength and endurance in these muscle groups DURING pregnancy, not just in the post natal period. Therefore ensure you integrate these exercises into your sessions and encourage your clients to perform them at home regularly too.
1) Abdominal Hollowing & Cat Stretch
This exercise provides a great stretch for women who are experiencing back ache plus encourages them to engage their abdominal muscles and core. Fluent breathing is important during this exercise as it can be easy to hold your breath as you draw in your abdominals (hollow). It’s also important to not allow the spine to cave when returning back down to neutral spinal alignment.
You can also perform a static 4 point stance abdominal hollowing exercise by taking a deep breath in and allowing the stomach to expand before inhaling whilst lifting the abdominals up towards the spine. Continue breathing and hold the contraction for a count of 4 (guide only) before relaxing the muscles.
2) Pelvic Tilts on Swiss Ball
This exercise can also be performed whilst standing and is great for making women aware of their pelvic positioning. Often pregnant women get stiff around the pelvis and lower back which makes adapting sitting and standing posture difficult. If you can encourage your client to perform pelvic tilts from the early onset of pregnancy then they could potentially experience less back ache and maintain better posture.
3) Swiss Ball Leg Lifts
This is a challenging exercise but good for core and pelvic floor. It must be performed slowly ensuring the swiss ball and client is supported on the off chance she loses her balance. It’s important to minimise the amount of weight leaning to the side when slowly lifting the foot off the ground. This exercise is definitely one to progress to or for a client who has been able to perform this exercise prior to pregnancy.
Enjoy teaching these exercises to your clients!