Your body and hormones have gone on a roller coaster journey through your pregnancy. Getting back to the club and working the right exercises will give your mood and recovery a major revamp.
For moms looking to get back into it and still-pregnant moms, Pilates is the best way to get started. Getting on the mat works and strengthen your pelvic muscles, which is key to combat lower back pain that occurs in most pregnant women. Beyond that, ticking that Pilates checkbox also helps
• Improve physical strength
• Improve flexibility
• Improve posture
• Enhance mental awareness.
• Relieve aches and pains, decrease stress, boost energy and confidence
• As such, putting in those Pilates hours will help you during pregnancy, labour and also to make a quick recovery afterwards.
But just why is Pilates so popular with new mothers and mothers-to-be?
IT’S ALL GOOD
Pilates is an extremely safe form of exercise. Once you have been cleared by your doctor and with the help of your Pilates instructor, you can start blazing the Pilates floor and build up your inner core strength, as early as 6 weeks after childbirth.
IT WILL LEAVE YOU FEELING SENSATIONAL
Getting on the Pilates bandwagon will help restore your confidence and control, you’ll focus on what’s happening within your body and not just on your physical appearance. You’ll be one zen mom as you listen, re-connect and gain mindful control of core muscles.
YOU’LL BE STRONG TO THE CORE
Around 60% of women will experience Diastasis Rectus (DR) during pregnancy. DR is the separation of the rectus abdominis or also known as the six-pack muscle that’s usually present around the belly button. As the belly grows, a small separation will occur between the 2 sides of the Rectus.
This is a natural occurrence, but if it isn’t handled with care, this separation can become over exaggerated and sometimes may not return to its natural state after delivery. Through Pilates, women can strengthen abdominal muscles and avoid further complications.
IT’S PELVIC PERFECTION
Pelvic floor exercises are an essential part of any postnatal Pilates program. These exercises help deal with post-natal issues such as stress, incontinence, and a prolapse. Pilates teaches women to reconnect and strengthen pelvic floor muscles to help improve posture, core strength and stability.
1. Activating your Transversus abdominis (TA)
• Begin by chilling. Lie on your back in neutral spine
• Slowly draw the section of your abdomen situated below your belly button upwards and inwards “away from your belt line”
• Breathe normally
• Your rib cage should remain relaxed and should not elevate during this process.
• You should be able to feel the muscle contracting if you press deeply 2cm in from the bony prominence at the front of your pelvis.
• Hold this muscle at 20 – 30% of a maximal contraction
2. Activating your Pelvic Floor
• Return to that break. Lie on your back in neutral spine
• Slowly contract the muscles in your saddle region by lifting them upwards. These are the same muscles used to stop the flow of urine.
• Breathe normally
• Hold this muscle at 20-30% of a maximal contraction
• Try activating your pelvic floor and transversus abdominis simultaneously.
3. Cat Stretch
• Bring out your wild, feline nature by starting on all fours with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
• Breathe in gently, allowing your tummy to relax.
• As you breathe out, draw your tummy inwards and, beginning from your tail bone, flex your spine into a curve, arching up to the ceiling like a cat, allowing your head to drop and look towards your tummy.
• Breathe in gently as you hold the position, and as you breathe out, return your spine to a neutral position, starting from your head and upper back and finishing at your tail bone.
• Repeat 5-10 times.
4. Modified Side Plank
• Get back on the floor and lie on your side with your elbow directly under the shoulder.
• Bend the bottom knee and lift your hip into a kneeling side plank position.
• Engage your abdominal muscles, keeping your back straight and the body in a straight line.
• Hold for 20-30 seconds, keeping your hips up and abs tight.
• Lower your hip to the floor and rest for 10 seconds before continuing.
• Complete a set of 5-6 side planks on each side.
5. Glute Bridge
• Continue to take it easy. Lie on your back with knees bent at a hip distance apart
• Keep your feet flat on the mat aligned under the knees.
• Engage the core (Activating your Pelvic Floor) and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips to a bridge.
• Hold your position, squeezing the core gently and return to mat with control.
• Repeat for 6 reps.
Part of the mom-to-be or new mom club? Try giving Pilates a swing. Roll out that mat and notice how it will help you maintain strength, increase mobility, reduce stress and feel sensational.
Give it a go at any of our clubs, but be sure to let our StarMakers know that you’re on your pregnancy or post-pregnancy journey. Or even better yet, schedule a 1-on-1 private session or small Pilates party with you and your mom squad so you can get a workout that’s perfectly planned to give you just what a mom needs.