Family of Four

Family of Four

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fitness Friday: Prenatal Workouts

I am so excited about a new opportunity that is about to launch for me. Let's rewind a few months to my Fit4Mom Stroller Strides training. When I decided to take the certification training to become a Stroller Strides instructor, the course also included Fit4Baby certification. At the time, I didn't really think much more about it except in terms of incorporating these aspects of this program into my Stroller Strides classes when I had pregnant moms in attendance.

Fast forward to a few months ago. Shortly after completing my certification and training, I started teaching for the Queen Creek/& San Tan Valley Fit4Mom Franchise which is about a year and a half old. Being in it's beginning stages, I have had some great opportunities to help expand their program offerings and grow their program - which, as you all know, is a huge passion point of mine. For those of you who aren't as personally familiar with me, simply put, my background in PR and Marketing within agency settings gave me a great love for advocating for and promoting small businesses. While it's great to work on big name accounts like Sprinkles, Gordon Biersch and Cancer Treatment Centers of America (which I did), I really enjoyed seeing the direct results my work had on making a small business grow and succeed. Anyway, with that said; a few weeks ago the Queen Creek Fit4Mom owner, Jamie - you should get to know her name because I will probably reference her again, in future blog posts I am sure - approached me with an idea to launch Fit4Baby classes for expecting moms. It was perfect timing, since I am also currently expecting, and a great opportunity to do more with my certification. I enthusiastically accepted and we quickly went to work figuring out the logistics and launching the program - which starts on Monday.

So basically, all of that was a really long way of saying, I am so excited about this new endeavor, Fit4Baby, that I will be starting on Monday. I will be teaching a series of 4 week prenatal "boot camp" sessions geared toward first time and working moms. The class is certainly open to any expecting mom, but since our Stroller Strides program is also great for prenatal workouts, the scheduling is more accommodating to those who work full time. I am particularly excited for these classes to begin because I think it provides a unique opportunity for expecting moms to connect with other currently pregnant moms (which I would have loved when I was pregnant) while also getting a great workout specifically formatted with the various stages of pregnancy in mind.

With that said, I hope you will spread the word to your expecting mommy friends and send them my way if they are interested and within a close vicinity. If a group fitness class isn't your flavor or the schedule/location doesn't work for you, I simply will leave you with my top 5 favorite prenatal workouts to try on your own.

My Top 5 Prenatal Exercises:

Planks - Planks are a fantastic way to engage and work practically everything while maintaining one static position. I like these because they are easy to do anywhere and don't take long to leave me feeling the burn in my shoulders, core, and tush.

To do this exercise: Grab a yoga mat and place your forearms (or palms if your growing belly makes forearms a challenge) on the mat with elbows (or hands) directly under your shoulders. Position feet far enough back to create a straight line from shoulder to heel. I always tell my classes to picture a wooden board on your back. This imaginary board should touch your shoulders, your butt, and your calves simultaneously.

The number one problem I see with planks is a piked tush. It may feel strange (and it's supposed to) but drop those hips to create one nice, straight line. You should be using your core to fight the feeling that your mid section will drop to the floor.

*Modification note - you can also lessen the resistance of this exercise by placing your knees on the ground and creating a straight line from knees to shoulders.

Challenge yourself to hold the plank as long as you can, with proper form, beginning with 45 seconds. Each time you plank, try to increase your time.

Photo Credit: JustMommies

Side Planks - Like planks, side planks are a great total body exercise; however, the side plank has a few added benefits, like back pain relief, and oblique strengthening.

Once again, on a yoga mat, lie on your right side with your right forearm on the floor with your elbow bent directly under your shoulder. Stack your left leg on top of the right (for added support, use a wall to brace your feet against). Lift your hip off the ground, engaging your abs, butt, and leg muscles.

*Modification note - if your knees begin to hurt drop one or both to the ground, keeping the straight line of the plank from your knee to shoulder, rather than ankle to shoulder.

Hold side plank for 30-60 seconds and switch sides. Repeat 2 more times on each side.

Photo Credit: Positively Panicked

Bridges - Think back to those old 80s workout videos where they did countless pelvic thrust toward the air. Yes, those are what I am talking about. They may look silly, but they are great to do with an expanding belly.

On a yoga mat, lie flat on your back with hands on the floor to your sides. Create a 45 degree bend in your knees. Slowly lift hips off the ground until a straight line is created from shoulder to knee and simultaneously press palms into the floor. Lower hips back to the ground.

Complete 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps.

Photo credit: EYogaGuru

Shoulder Press Squats -  I love squats. More importantly, I love how squats make my butt look! Because I have relatively weak arms/shoulders that could always use a little more definition, I like to add resistance band overhead presses when I do my squats.

Start with feet should width apart, place the center of the resistance tube under your feet and grab each handle. Bend your knees, creating a 90 degree bend at the knee. Be mindful to keep your chest up and shoulders back. As you squat down, push your butt out like you are going to sit in a chair. Add a bit of core resistance to your squat by sucking your belly button to your spine, or engaging your core muscles to "hug the baby". As you squat down, your hands will lower to your shoulders and as you return to a standing position, they will extend straight up until your biceps touch your ears.

Complete 4 sets of 8-12 reps

Photo credit: SkinnyMom

Tricep Dips - Again, because I have weak arms, I like to work them out in the most effective ways possible. Most arm exercises are going to be prenatal friendly, but with the added weight of your baby bump, (this is one of the only times I will count the added weight as a benefit I am sure) you will achieve an even better burn!

On a bench or chair, place palms on the edge of the seat with feet positioned to create a 90 degree bend at the knee. Using your arms, lower your butt to the ground while pulling your belly button to your spine (or hugging the baby). Extend arms to return to the starting position.

Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Photo credit: Woman's Day

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