Pilates has the perfect recipe to keep you in shape throughout every trimester. Not only will it keep you strong and flexible, but it’s the perfect antidote to the discomforts associated with your pregnancy.
The (big!) added bonus? Because Pilates work engages your deepest core muscles, pelvic floor, hips and spine, you’ll develop muscle strength and memory that will help your body recover faster post-pregnancy. Although Pilates is one of the safest workouts you can do when you’re expecting, be sure to check with your doctor before you begin this or any workout program. In addition to the exercises described below, equipment classes including the reformer and the stability chair can be used to add resistance as well as support to challenge and aide you while building core strength, increasing mobility, balance and agility during this amazing time. Our instructors are trained to program workouts that make modifications specific to your changing needs.
Schedule a private session and enjoy the endless benefits of a program tailored just for you.
Warm up by doing five to 10 minutes of knee lifts, low-back stretches and shoulder rolls. Then do the moves specific to your trimester three to four times per week, taking one day off in between workouts. Rest in between each set if needed.
FOCUS: CORE STRENGTH, STAMINA AND MUSCLE MEMORY
These moves will strengthen your entire core (abs, back, waist and pelvis) so it can support you like an internal corset, giving your body strength and resilience as your belly grows.
1. Forearm Control, or Plank
Get on your hands and knees, then lower yourself until your elbows and forearms are on the floor. Lace your fingers together, keeping your elbows wide. Straighten one leg at a time until your body forms a straight line from head to feet. Lengthen your body from your head to tailbone, keeping abs pulled in. Pressing into your forearms, squeeze the muscles in both legs [shown]. Breathe deeply as you hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds, building up to 30. Rest by sitting back on your heels if needed.
2. Mermaid side bends
Sit on your right hip with knees bent to the left, left hand holding your left ankle. Reach your right arm overhead and lean to the left; hold for 1 breath, lifting your ribs and contracting your abs. Place your right hand firmly on the floor to the right and push into your hand. Lift your right hip off the floor, balancing on your right shin and top of foot, left leg straight and pressing into the foot. Then reach your left arm overhead and lean to the right as you squeeze the right side of your waist and tighten your abs [shown].
Slowly return to the starting position and repeat sequence 4 to 8 times, then switch sides.
FOCUS: POSTURE, CORE STABILITY AND BALANCE
These moves will keep your spine in a proper neutral upright position, protecting your back and neck as your belly and breasts grow. They also assist with balance and stability.
1. Hovering knees
Get down on your knees and forearms, elbows shoulder-width apart, knees under hips and toes curled under. Inhale, then exhale as you tighten your abdominal muscles without moving your back. Slowly lift both knees at the same time, floating them a few inches off the floor [shown].
Hold for 1 full breath while pressing into your forearms and squeezing abs tightly. Lower both knees at the same time. Do 4 to 8 reps, resting in between by sitting back on your heels if necessary.
2. Kneeling hundreds
Kneel on a flat pillow, knees hip-distance apart (or sit in a chair). Your shoulders back and down, inhale through your nose for 5 counts as you pump your arms rapidly behind you, squeezing your upper back and shoulders. Exhale through your mouth for 5 counts [shown], pulling abs in. One set equals 10 pumps. Do 5 to 10 sets, resting when needed.
FOCUS: FLEXIBILITY, JOINT MOBILITY AND LABOR PREP
These moves will strengthen the pelvic-floor muscles as you keep your pelvis, spine and hips mobile, relieving discomfort and preparing you for labor.
1. Pelvic tilts
Get down on your hands and knees, wrists directly under shoulders and knees under hips. (If you have any wrist discomfort, place a rolled towel under your hands.) Inhale as you arch your back and tilt your tailbone up, then exhale as you tuck your tailbone under and round your back. Draw your abs in and contract your pelvic-floor muscles [shown], doing a Kegel by squeezing the vaginal muscles as if to stop the flow of urine. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps. Sit back on your heels between reps to rest if needed.
Lie on your right side with legs slightly forward and knees bent and stacked on top of each other. Place a pillow under your head and a flat pillow under your belly for support. Stack your hips, and keep your spine straight and abs drawn in. Place your left hand on your belly to connect with your baby. Keeping your toes touching, rotate at your left hip and lift the left knee, taking your knees apart as far as possible [shown]. Slowly lower and repeat for 8 to 10 reps, then switch sides.