Three perfect exercises for expectant mothers with Maria Ludeke



Champaign, Illinois (WCIA)

Maria Ludeke, owner of Sweat Practice, shares great exercises for expecting moms.

Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, but approaching it safely is essential for preventing injury and maintaining strength for the long nine months. There are many exercises to avoid that involve a risk of falling, such as skiing and cycling, but most exercises, especially if you were doing them before pregnancy, are encouraged. Some of the most recommended forms of exercise are walking, swimming, Pilates, and yoga. Plan to skip exercises that involve lying on your back after the first trimester, avoid twisting as it can be uncomfortable, reduce high-impact movements as you go along, and definitely rethink your core routine.

You don’t have to completely jump the trunk during pregnancy, but traditional “six pack” crunches and abdominal movements can make abdominal separation or diastasis recti worse. Instead, focus on your transverse and oblique abs to create nature’s support belt. Without a strong core acting as a corset to lift and maintain the weight of a growing belly, lower back and pelvic pain is easy to develop. Here are three exercises to work your transverse and oblique abs.

Belly Breathing: Breathe in deeply letting your belly and ribs expand, then, as you exhale, think about first lifting your pelvic floor, then wrapping your abs as if you are gently tightening a corset around your torso. Avoid holding your breath and switch smoothly from inhaling to exhaling for about 5 seconds. You can do this standing or sitting.

Birddog: Start at the tabletop and use the belly breathing technique to engage your transverse abdomen. On your inhale, reach for the opposite arm and leg parallel to the floor, trying to keep the hip bones and shoulders level. Exhale and pull the center of the elbow and knee. Repeat, focusing on your breath, balance, and belly button hugging against your spine.

Side plank: Lying on your side, come to your forearm, placing your elbow under your shoulder. The lower knee can rest on the floor as you lift your hips while remaining stacked and stable. Use your obliques to continue to lift your hips skyward. Hold for 20-30 seconds or try adding variations if it’s too easy.

Sweat Practice is a personal training studio, offering virtual and in-person training options for individuals and small groups. We help you stay motivated and accountable for your wellness goals by creating safe, enjoyable and effective training programs.

We offer both personal and virtual training for individuals, couples and small groups. Our training programs are designed to help you prevent injury, build strength and endurance, and enjoy your fitness routine. The most important part of any program is to stay consistent, so we want you to enjoy your workouts and focus on positive goals. We offer general physical training, performance training and pre / postnatal training. Visit our website for more details.

If you want to start a training, we start with a free 30 minute consultation which can be booked via zoom or in person. Contact [email protected] to get started! Your first personal workout is FREE, see if it’s right for you at no cost. We have a studio located in Urbana but we also do home visits and we train at the ARC on campus. We help you achieve your wellness goals, so you feel healthier and happier.

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