In this next part of Active Mum, Healthy Baby, we are progressing through the pre-pregnancy phase to prepare the body for the baby!
This 2nd week, we look at Ab Prep with Progression. Having worked on Pelvic Floor and Transverse Abdominal, we move on to strengthen the other 3 layers of abdominals- Internal & External Oblique & Rectus Abdominal.
(Note: This exercise is progressive and specific to this stage of pregnancy. Working on this exercise while undergoing other stages may constitute a risk that might be unsafe for mum and baby. Beware!)
As one of the foundation exercise in any Pilates program, this exercise has a lot of emphasis placed on it. From good movement to precise firing pattern, there is a high demand for quality rather than quantity. With the right amount of activation, we can strengthen the abdominals while maintaining a good healthy back as we avoid switching off Multifidus in the back.
Start: Supine with slight curvature in the lower back, ribs heavy as sandbag, knees bent.
Inhale: Nod the head, lengthen the crown away while keeping the head on the ground.
Exhale: Bring navel towards the spine, shorten abdominals to lift the torso while maintaining curvature in the lower back. With eye line on the knee, support the weight of the head in the same hand while reaching the other away to challenge the body in equal bilateral flexion.
Inhale: Stay. Looking at the knees still.
Inhale: Nod the head, lengthen the crown away.
Exhale: Lower torso & head down while maintaining curvature in lower back.
Exhale: Repeat it for another 5-7 times.
Remember, it’s really quality we are looking at rather than quantity.
Progressing the Exercise!
Once perfect form is mastered, the natural progression will be towards more work done through the following sequence of increasing difficulty-
- Holding at the top: In the flexed position with one hand supporting behind head, hold for 5 seconds while breathing normally before lowering down into the next repetition.
- Pulses: In the flexed position with one hand supporting behind head, now lower half way before reaching back up again. Do that for 12- 16 pulses before resting.
- Table top legs: Keep the spine in neutral while bending knees and hip 90 degrees in the air.
As we progress to being very comfortable with the first progression of holding, we can move onto pulses then ultimately table top legs. The whole idea is to maintain quality throughout and resist the temptation in jumping queue to the most advance. Let’s work towards a strong core with good PF & TA activation and a healthy back!
For an enjoyable 9 months and beyond!
We’ll see you next time with the third instalment of back exercise. Get that sexy back!