Incorporating the Stability Ball into prenatal conditioning effectively engages your core musculature. According to Sheila Watkins, of Healthy Moms Fitness:
Clinical observations involving the use of a stability ball with prenatal clients have shown a low incidence of back pain in late pregnancy, strong, firm abdominal muscles and increased core stability. Simply sitting on the ball improves your posture, making it a great place to perform strength- training exercises.
Strengthening your upper back muscles is a prenatal priority. After childbirth, you will be in a forward flexed posture for many hours of the day. Exercises requiring the shoulder blades to pull together prevent the round-shouldered posture sometimes seen in new moms.
A great exercise for these muscles requires a partner. You’ll need two stability balls, and two resistance tubes with handles. Sit facing each other on the ball. Start out with your feet close to your partner’s. Partners take the tubing behind their back, under the shoulder blades. Hold on to the handles of your partner’s tube, one in each hand.
- Inhale to prepare
- Exhale. Squeeze your neck together and bend your elbows, pointing them behind your back.
- Inhale and return
- Keep your torso stable and upright
- Important! Both partners work simultaneously, at the same speed! For a challenge, slowly straighten your legs as the elbows bend.
- Hug the baby with your belly on the concentric phase
- Draw your pelvic floor up like a hammock on the eccentric
The adductors or inner thigh muscles are important for expectant moms. When active, they stabilize your knees and your pelvis. Relaxin causes hyper-flexibility in your adductors, making you prone to injury. Many popular adductor exercises involve a range of motion that may be unsafe for a pregnant exerciser. The solution may be found in the medium sized balls sold at toy stores. Seated on the balance ball, place the smaller ball between your inner thighs. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and squeeze the ball. Good news! You can do this while performing most upper body exercises. Be sure to sequence your exercises so that you work the larger muscles, chest back again and shoulders, prior to working your biceps and triceps.
This squat variation is great for pregnant women since it works many muscles simultaneously.
- Stand on a resistance tube
- Feet parallel, pelvic width apart
- Hold one handle in each hand. Arms are straight.
- Squat, as if you were sitting on a big chair.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades with each other, bending your elbows, aligning them together with your shoulders. On the third repetition, keep elbows bent, and slowly stand up. You will feel resistance on the way up.
- Perform seven more repetitions of this sequence.