Saturday, 21 February 2015

Prep Your Mommy Muscles!! Prenatal Upper Body Workout

Most of us have heard the term "Mommy Muscles". Now, we are going to do a workout to train these muscles prior to the birth of our baby. This workout focusses on the upper body, strengthening and stretching the muscles that will be used to hold, carry, cuddle, and feed our babies. We will also focus on engaging the core throughout the routine to ensure proper form and strengthening through the pelvic floor. 

For this workout, you will require a set of dumbbells (or resistance band), a mat, and a bottle of water.

Photography by Amy Kaye
Tone Your Mommy Muscles!

Warm Up

30 Walking Jacks
jumping jack motion, with stepping feet out (instead of jumping), but still move arms up and down

15 Squats with "Breathing Arms"
deep squats with knees staying over ankles (not pushing forward over toes). as you lower, bring arms down beside you as you exhale. inhale to raise to standing and bring arms over head into a gentle stretch. repeat.

15 reps of each and complete 1-2 sets

maintain an engaged core by bringing belly button (or thinking of bringing baby..) in towards your spine. squeeze shoulder blades behind you throughout each motion and stand as tall as possible. working your deep core, pelvic floor, and postural muscles during the entire workout will help decrease low back discomfort and assist in training muscles for labour and delivery. 

Squat with Biceps Curls
begin with feet hip distance apart and one dumbbell (or handle of resistance band and stand on band) in each hand. bend through hips and knees to lower into squat keeping knees behind toes and over ankles. as you return to standing from squat position, bend through elbows to bring dumbbells (or handles of resistance band) towards shoulders. return hands, with control, to either side of your body.  repeat. 

Triceps Dips
sit on the edge of your couch, stairs, or a bench and place hands on either side of your hips with fingers facing forwards. with bent knees, lift  and press glutes away from the seat (you should be close to the seat, but far enough away that you can't touch it). bend elbows to lower yourself towards floor. press through hands to straighten elbows and bring yourself back into starting position. keep core engaged throughout motion. repeat. 

Lunge with Shoulder Press
stand with feet hip width apart, one dumbbell in each hand near shoulders (with bent elbows), and palms facing out. if using resistance band, anchor centre of band under right foot; this will be your front foot. step left foot back and lower into lunge. right knee should stay above right ankle and lower to 90°. stay low in right lunge position as you press dumbbells or resistance band up and over your head into a shoulder press. lower, with control, back to shoulder height. repeat all reps on right side before switching to left side. 

90° Biceps "In and Out"
stand with feet hip width apart and one dumbbell (or resistance band handle) in each hand. bend elbows to 90° in front of your body. keeping the bend, rotate arms to bring dumbbells towards the side of your body. return to front of body. repeat. for added challenge, balance on one leg! switch legs halfway through.

Bent Over Rows
with feet hip distance apart and one dumbbell (or resistance band handle and stand on band) in each hand. bend slightly at waist, but maintain engaged core and flat back. row dumbbells or handles towards chest by squeezing shoulder blades together and drawing elbows in and up. slowly release. repeat.

Modified Side Plank
make your way down to the floor and set up in a side plank from right forearm and right knee. left leg will be straight over right bent knee while you face open to the right side. left hand can be on left hip, or straight up into the air. press hips up to keep a straight line from left ankle to left shoulder. hold for count of 15 before switching over to left side. 

Kneeling Superwoman
transition from side plank to all fours (hands and knees). hands should be directly under shoulders; stacking wrists, elbows, and shoulders. knees should be directly under hips. press into right hand and left knee as you lift left arm and right leg straight and away from your body. engage your core by drawing baby in towards you and try to keep back flat. return to starting position. extend right arm and left leg. repeat.

stay on all fours. inhale as you look towards ceiling and curl tailbone up at the same time. allow baby to drop towards floor. exhale as you curl chin and pelvis inwards and hug baby while rounding your spine out towards ceiling. continue this fluid motion focussing on loosening through your spine and not worrying about how deep you go. repeat. 

hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds
Downward Dog
Pigeon Pose - left
Pigeon Pose - right
Chest Stretch - grasping hands behind back
Upper Back Stretch - grasping hands in front of  body and pushing outwards while rounding spine
any other stretch that feels good!!

~ ensure clearance from your health care provider before engaging in physical activity while pregnant 
& always listen to your body ~


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