[images][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][endimages]As soon as became pregnant, I found fatigue taking away my lust for cardio. I promised myself to keep strength training within my practice through yoga, and I am SO glad that I did. Not only will it make recovering that much easier, but it prepared me for labor and the weight of carrying a newborn. Below are my top 5 strength training exercises that have been influenced by yoga postures.
Please note that I use 5 pound weights, yet you will need to listen to your body. You can do these as body weight exercises, and still get all of the awesome benefits. You know you and your little one growing inside you best, so please listen to that.
I was told early on in my pregnancy that a normal contraction will last one minute. So, training my body and mind to withhold strength and pressure for one minute was a great way to get ready for birth. Standing against a steady wall, walk your feet far enough away from the wall to come to hovering seat. Knees will stack right over your ankle, and your knees will be in line with your hip joints for safety – and this is your sign to start your minute timer. To add more of a challenge (not to mention the strong biceps needed to carry your soon-to-be baby!), incorporate bicep curls. This also helps to keep your mind off of the minute time!
As my belly grew, I had less of a desire to hold a plank position. I also couldn’t lay on my back any more to do chest presses. So, I changed my practice in my third trimester to block push up on your knees. Having one block under your right hand, keep your hands in a wider position. Drop your knees onto the mat, and lift heels closer to your glutes to challenge the weight distribution. Inhale as your lower your shoulders in lined with your elbow, and exhale as you press back up. Do 10 on your right side, and then switch block under your left hand and complete 10 on this side.
As things started to expand in my upper body, I noticed that my latissimus dorsi were needing some strength. This muscle lies on both sides of your body, right underneath your armpits. They are responsible for the movement of your shoulders, as well as keeping your shoulders away from your ears (this helps with posture as well!). Starting with feet wide, walk your toes out and stack your knees over your heels. This will open the pelvic area, which will also support birth. The muscles around your hips will strengthen for an added benefit. Using weights in your hands, inhale and press weights to opposite side of room with palms facing towards front of room. On the exhale, pull elbows into rib cage to activate lats. Keep your hands at shoulder height as you inhale back out, and repeat! I do 3 reps of 15 to give my hips a break between reps.
This is a great exercise that I do both pregnant and not pregnant. It feels like a full body workout, and so simple! Starting from a lunge position, lift one weight above your head in both hands. Bending at the elbow, inhale and lower weight behind your head as your back knee lowers towards mat. Exhale back to starting point.
Throughout my whole pregnancy, most women encouraged me to get squatting every day! I listened, and so glad that I did. My legs stayed strong to carry the extra weight of the little one inside, as well as a low impact cardio (being 8 months pregnant, YES a squat feels like cardio!) Start with feet a little wider than hip-width distance, and weights in each hand. As you sit low into your squat, bring elbows in line with shoulders, palms towards the front of the room. Exhale and stand, pressing the weights above your head. Squeeze your booty as you stand to get more of an impact into your lower body muscles. I do about 5 reps of 15 presses, which is 75 squats a day. #bootyliciousmomma
Thank you all for reading and strengthening your growing body. Know that you can do this once a week and feel great, or incorporate into your daily strength training. You know your body, and your body will thank you for treating it like a temple during it’s transition with baby.