8 Essential Pilates Exercises To Do Before Delivery
Epiphany Pilates recommends the use of a Stability Ball during these prenatal exercises to provide support while challenging the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles.
Breathing plays an important role in delivery, allowing us to focus and relax as well as release the pelvic floor to birth the baby.
Sit comfortably on the stability ball, lengthening up through the back with your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle. Pelvis is neutral or slightly arched backwards to accommodate the extra weight of the baby in the belly. Avoid excessive arching of the low back. Begin with an exhale, pulling up the pelvic floor; and, inhale, release the pelvic floor completely.
2. Pelvic Tilts
This exercise builds strength through the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles.
Sit on the stability ball with knees hip-width apart and arms overhead, fingers interlaced. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, tuck the pelvis forward, scooping the tailbone underneath. Inhale, release, bringing the pelvis back to your neutral position.
3. Lateral Pelvic Tilts
This exercise opens the ribcage and activates the obliques.
Sit on the stability ball, knees hip-width apart and arms overhead, fingers interlaced. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, bring the upper torso and the hip over to the side, creating the letter ‘C’ with your body. Inhale, release, bringing the body back to the starting position.
4. Hip Circles
This exercise loosens the hips, strengthens the pelvic floor, and provides a stretch through the lower back.
Sit on the stability ball, knees hip-width apart with hands resting on the knees. Circle the hips around in a clockwise direction for 5-8 counts and repeat in a counter-clockwise direction for 5-8 counts.
5. Single Leg Lifts
This exercise gently strengthens the deep abdominal muscles while providing a balance challenge.
Sit on the stability ball, knees hip-width apart and arms extended in a T-position. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, lift one foot off the floor. Inhale, lower the foot ; and, exhale, lift the opposite foot off the floor.
6. Spine Twist
This exercise strengthens the obliques and provides a stretch through the upper back.
Sit on the stability ball, knees hip-width apart and arms extended in a T-position. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, rotate the upper body to the side. Inhale, bring the body back to center. Exhale, rotate in the opposite direction; inhale, to center.
7. Push Ups Against the Wall
This exercise strengthens the arms, shoulders and deep abdominal muscles.
Place the ball on the wall at the height of the shoulders. Hold the ball on either side as you walk the feet backwards until the body is at a slight diagonal. Begin with arms extended; exhale, bend the elbows to bring the chest towards the ball and inhale, extend the elbows to return to the starting position.
8. Cat Stretch
This exercise strengthens the back extensors, deep abdominal muscles, and pelvic floor.
Begin kneeling in front of the ball with both hands on either side. Inhale to prepare and exhale, roll down through the spine until the back is parallel with the floor and the ball is in front of the head. Inhale, pause; exhale, tuck the pelvis, bringing the tailbone underneath and rounding up through the mid-back. Inhale, bring the back and pelvis back to neutral (parallel to the floor); exhale, lengthen up through the upper back, drawing the shoulder blades down and bringing the chest forward.Inhale, bring the back and pelvis back to neutral; exhale, round back up through the spine to the starting position.
For more information or to register for Prenatal & Postnatal Pilates, contact us today!