My first pregnancy was like any other...9+ months of learning, discovering, and guessing. I didn't know what my body could, couldn't, should, or shouldn't do and simply continued my cardio driven regimen for as long as I could. 6 weeks after my baby boy was born (and 6 weeks after a long, slow, gruesomely beautiful delivery) I tried to do walking lunges to "warm up" for my garage work out. I got down, stayed down, then slowly sank all the way to the ground. That felt weird. I moved on to squats--because using both legs equally would be easier. I lowered down, and shook like their were ants in my pants all the way up. What was happening?
My arms were strong and my cardio was still an A+, but the entire region from my belly button to my knees was completely depleted. Getting up from the floor was challenging, getting into my husband's Texas-size truck was comical, and you already know the result of my workout attempt. I realized immediately that if I ever had the privilege of being pregnant again, I would put more focus and attention on the region of the body affected most during pregnancy. And here we are...18 months later!
Because we all know the first trimester is 100% dedicated to just surviving each day, I didn't put too much pressure on myself. Now officially in the smack middle of the second trimester, the energy has returned and I wanted to stay committed to my goals. Each morning (for the most part) of the last 4 weeks I start with this quick jump starter to help gain or maintain strength in the "baby zone":
Serves as a total body warm up and is a basic movement that you never want to go too long without practicing!
Booty beware! This spin on stationary lunges is extra challenging for the front glute and quad and provides a welcoming stretch for your back hip flexor. Use additional support for balance if needed!
Because your arms are about to be full...! It's easy to neglect the back side of our body, but having strong triceps is important to balance and assist the work of your biceps.
If there was one exercise I would recommend doing every day, it's push ups. Maintaining core strength has its advantages for obvious post-partum reasons, but push ups also make you feel empowered in an unusual, superwoman way. Easy to transition into various positions as your beautiful belly grows.
An amazing exercise for strengthening the muscles around the pelvic region, including: the lower back, lower abs, glutes, and hip flexors. Floor exercises on your back won't be comfortable for long, so try them while you can!
Stretching and strengthening collide in this wonderful Pilates-inspired move. This 360° exercise is incredible to keep your hips and inner thighs long and strong while continuously engaging your lower abs.
This exercises targets the entire abdominal region, upper to lower. Again, at this stage of pregnancy laying flat on your back may begin to be uncomfortable, so feel free to substitute these with standing leg lifts.
Hang with me on this one. The method I suggest may be a little different than what you find on a google search, but the primary purpose is undeniable: to strengthen the inner muscles that support your abdominal wall. Practicing this post-partum with my first baby was a miracle worker. Women and men at any stage can benefit from this oddly simple exercise.
Tip for success: Write this workout down on a post-it note and put it on your cell phone each night. When you wake up in the morning, (to turn off the alarm or just check your phone) you have to remove the sticky note and think about when the workout is going to happen. Boom...accountability.
We have some other tips for waking up on the right side of the bed. Check out the recent post Eat Glitter for Breakfast for some early morning inspiration!