After battling nausea and fatigue during the first trimester, you need to fire up and get more energy in the second trimester. Although there are some restrictions, pregnant women can and should still exercise, as it provides the body with opportunities to strengthen, release endorphins and work the heart and lungs. That’s why we design a safe workout program that gives you the strength, stability, and overall fitness you need to make the most of this energizing phase of pregnancy. As with any type of pregnancy exercise, start by asking your healthcare provider if it’s okay to begin an aerobics routine. If you get the green light, aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity on most or all days of the week.
Cow-Cat pose is a gentle up-and-down flowing posture that brings flexibility to the entire spine. It also stretches and lengthens the back torso and neck. It’s a wonderful and easy movement to open and create space through the entire neck.
START: Kneel on your hands and knees in a neutral, tabletop position. Align the hands below the shoulders and knees directly beneath the hips. Looking straight ahead, inhale, and slowly extend through your spine as you look up and forward, softly arching the back and neck.
FINISH: Move into cat pose by reversing the movement as you exhale and bring your chin towards your chest while gently hunching and rounding your back. Repeat this sequence for 7 to 10 cycles, softly flowing with your breath.
This exercise engages your posterior gluteus medius, one of the greatest muscles in your bodies that you all tend to ignore. By strengthening your “gluts”, you provide more stability around your sacroiliac joint which tends to be looser during pregnancy due to the effects of hormones.
START: Lay on your side with your pelvis exactly perpendicular to the floor. Knees and hips should be bent 45-90 degrees.
FINISH: Contract pelvic floor muscles and hold. Contract abdominals by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Keeping feet together, roll top knee off bottom knee. Make sure you keep the muscles in your thigh relaxed; you should be contracting your gluteal muscle to lift your thigh. Do not allow your pelvis to move. Hold 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10-20 times twice per day.
Do your shoulders slump and round during pregnancy when you walk, sit, or stand? If you answered “yes”, you may have poor thoracic spine mobility. By finally engaging your thoracic spine in times of spinal rotation, flexion, and extension, you will get stronger, faster, and more explosive in those movements.
START: Get on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Reach one hand down your back behind your head so that your elbow is up by your head.
FINISH: With your hand behind your head, rotate your elbow down under your body toward your opposite knee. Sit your butt back slightly as you tuck. Then rotate through your spine to open your elbow up toward the ceiling as much as you can. Open your chest up toward the ceiling and push your hips slightly forward as you rotate. Repeat, rotating your elbow back under before twisting back open. Complete all reps on one side before switching.
KNEELING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
The Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch is one of the best stretches to help with mobility at the front of the pelvis. This exercise will alleviate lower back pain, improving your posture and aligning your legs in a manner that makes them work more powerfully.
START: Kneel down on your left knee with your right foot on the floor. Place your right knee bent 90 degrees.
FINISH: Reach up with your right hand as high as you can. Bend your torso to your right. Rotate your torso to the right as you reach with your right hand as far behind you as you can. Hold this position for the prescribed length of time. Kneel on your right knee, switch arms, and repeat.
STRAIGHT-LEG CALF STRETCH
During pregnancy, many women notice that they experience calf cramps, especially at night time when sleeping. Your calf muscles are working harder during pregnancy with the weight of your growing baby to move you around. Why not try to stretch them at the end of the day or before you go to bed?
START: Stand facing a wall with your arms straight in front of you and your hands flat against the wall.
FINISH: Keep your right leg forward, foot flat on the floor, and extend your left leg straight back, placing your heel flat on the floor. Don’t bend your back knee. Lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the calf of the straight leg. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Repeat twice for a total of three sets. Perform this stretch daily and up to three times a day if you are tight.
Staying active during pregnancy is good for both your health and the health of your baby. The step up is a unilateral leg exercise, which means that you train each leg independently. The result is that you improve the symmetry of your leg musculature.
START: Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length at your sides. Stand in front of a bench or step, and place your left foot firmly on the step. The step should be high enough that your knee is bent 90 degrees.
FINISH: Press your left heel into the step and push your body up until your left leg is straight and you’re standing on one leg on the bench, keeping your right foot elevated. Lower your body back down until your right foot touches the floor. That’s one repetition. Complete the prescribed number of repetitions with your left leg, then do the same number with your right leg.
MODIFIED SIDE PLANK
Side plank pose is a powerful exercise to develop shoulder, arm and side body strength. It might not be fully comfortable or safe during pregnancy, however. You can modify this pose by dropping one knee.
START: Lie on your left side with your knees bent 90 degrees. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow.
FINISH: Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Breathe deeply for the duration of the exercise. Hold this position for as long as you can. That’s one set. Turn around so that you’re lying on your right side and repeat.