*Update: Since having Luna, I’ve created more “10 Minute workouts with a toddler“. Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you and your new little one can continue exercising and having fun together!
As of today I am 35 weeks and 6 days pregnant, or exactly 29 days until my due date! No wonder I am feeling as big as a house, lethargic and uncomfortable. As always, one thing that always helps my body and my mood feel better is a good workout. At almost 9 months pregnant, I need to take it a little easier than the previous months and use lots of modifications. The important thing is to keep moving!
Before being pregnant I was under the impression that a pregnant woman is not able to workout her abs. However, I’ve done my research since then and learned that not only can I still workout my abs and core, but it’s actually very beneficial during the pregnancy. Of course, there are a few rules that should be followed: No crunches, no lying on your back after the first trimester, and if it hurts, (in a bad way) stop.
A few benefits of strong abs and core during pregnancy? Strong abs support the spine which supports the weight of the baby and decreases lower back pain during pregnancy. A strong core aids in labor and delivery and recovery. Remember that working out your core during pregnancy is not about getting a flatter tummy; it’s about working your transverse abdominals and pelvic floor to prepare your body for what is to come during the next 40 weeks.
Like my previous “10 Minute Workout” posts I will not be using any equipment. I want these workouts to be accessible to each of you, no matter where you may be or what you have available. However, I would like to say that having a stability during pregnancy is very very helpful, especially for ab and core exercises.
Here is Hilarie’s “Ten Minute Prenatal Ab and Core Workout”
Knee Lifts (2 minutes)
I loved this exercise even before becoming pregnant! Stand with feet about shoulder width apart, raise both arms in the air and lift your right knee towards your chest while bringing your elbows down towards your knee. Switch and do the left knee. Repeat these knee lifts to the front for one minute. Remember to tighten your ab muscles (think “hug your baby”…as cheesy as that may sound) as you lift your knees up. NOW, turn your hips slightly out and lift your knee up towards your armpit and elbow down towards your knee for side knee lifts. Switch knees between each lift and repeat for a minute. To modify, try raising your knees half of the way up (this may be necessary once your belly gets too big!). For a challenge, well…I’m a little stumped with this one…maybe add ankle or wrist weights?
Planks (2 minutes)
Alright, ladies you should know this one! Get in plank position (push-up position). I use straight arms, but you can plank on your elbows as well. Keep you head, neck, spine and tailbone in a straight line (no saggy bum, or butts in the air!). Now hold for minute! Here’s the fun part… Put your weight on your right elbow; lift your left arm straight up towards the ceiling and turn your plank on it’s side and hold for 30 seconds. Switch and hold the opposite side for 30 seconds. To modify, put those knees down. You will still reap all the core benefits! For a challenge, lift one leg (good luck if you are trying this on the side planks!) Just keep in mind that balance is a little trickier in your third trimester.
Superman (one minute)
Go to your hands in knees, but keep your core tight so there is not too much strain on your lower back. Lift your left arm up and out and your right leg straight out behind you and off the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and switch sides. Continue this motion for one minute. To modify, you can put your foot down when it reaches to the back or only hold each move for 2 or 3 seconds. For a challenge, try the Warrior 3 pose! I don’t recommend this unless you have been doing this since before becoming pregnant. It’s important to have good balance and a strong core during this exercise.
Rotational Squats (1 minute)
I love squats, so this is one of my favorite exercises in this routine. Open your legs wide, wider than shoulder width, and squat. Try to keep your back straight, hips tucked under, eyes up and butt back. (Lots to think about!) Squat down to almost 90 degrees; no lower. When you come up rotate, or twist your upper body and arms to one side. Squat down again, come up and rotate to the opposite side. Do for one minute. To modify, skip the rotating, put your hands on your hips and only squat. OR, skip the squats and only rotate from side to side, working those obliques. For a challenge, hold a kettle ball.
Pelvic tilts (1 minute)
This one is a perfect exercise because it’s not strenuous at all, but it strengthens your abs, decreases back pain during pregnancy and labor, improves your posture and makes delivery easier. Just stand straight with your back against a wall. Tilt your hips forward. You’ll know you are doing it right if you are also pressing the small of your back against the wall. Repeat this motion for the next minute. No need to modify or increase this one. But, if it is uncomfortable to stand you can do the same thing on all fours.
Incline push-ups (1 minute)
Find a safe and sturdy place for your incline push-ups. You can use steps if you have them, place a few heavy-duty books against the wall, use a sturdy coffee table or just use the wall itself. Get in your push-up/plank position. Keep your head, neck and hips aligned and begin your push-ups. Try them for a minute. If you need a break, go to child’s pose, count to 5 and try it again. To modify, bring your knees down or do the wall push-ups (if you aren’t already). For a challenge, skip the incline altogether you over-achiever!
Switch Lifts (1 minute)
Go to your back, but do not lay flat. Instead, rest back on your elbows. Bend your knees and lift one leg. Switch legs and continue to repeat while also holding your core tight. Do for one minute. Again, there aren’t good modifications or challenges for this, especially if you are in your third trimester. You don’t want to overwork or hurt your abs.
Leg extensions (1 minute)
Stay down on your back and elbows and keep your knees bent. Tilt both knees to one side and extend them all the way out towards the corner. Switch sides and repeat. Continue for one minute. To modify, only extend halfway. For a challenge, hold the extension for 5 seconds.
All done! You did it! Woohoo! Now, don’t forget your cardio! It’s so important to get at least 30 minutes of cardio in a day…but if you are getting in that much even a few days a week in your third trimester then give yourself a pat on the back! If you need an idea for cardio, try swimming! Head to a local gym with a heated pool (unless you are one of those lucky people who live somewhere warm this time of year…hate you by the way) and jump in! Being in the water while pregnant is the best feeling ever! You do not feel pregnant or heavy at all, it’s so so great. Great exercise too.
Also, don’t forget these very important tips while doing any prenatal exercise.