Prenatal Pilates Series: Prenatal Core workout

Hi guys! It's Robin from The Balanced Life, and I'm super excited to be kicking off this prenatal series! My hope is that these videos will provide you with short workouts that you can do from home, throughout all three trimesters So I am about halfway through my pregnancy right now – so I'm in the second trimester – and you can always modify to make it work for you

So if something doesn't feel right, I want you to listen to that, and either skip it or adjust to make it feel right in your body The most important thing you can do when exercising is listen to your body, especially while you're pregnant It's going to be different for everyone Some things that feel fine in my body may not feel right to you, so I definitely request that you honor that and put your needs first So today's series is going to be just basic Pilates core work

And it's really, really important to work the core during pregnancy even though it's not in traditional ways, right? So things that are not good are sit-ups, crunches, the Pilates hundred – that kind of pressure that you put on the abdominal wall is not helpful The kind of work that we want is really stabilizing work So we'll be using our muscles to support the belly, working on that transverse (that deep core muscle), the rectus (which runs along the front), and the obliques (which often get left out) So those muscles are all going to help keep us feeling good throughout pregnancy – so we don't have back pain – and they're also going to help tremendously during labor and delivery and recovery So I hope you enjoy this workout! We're going to get started

Get in a seated position, with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent, and based on how big you are, you will determine how far your knees are and how wide they areSso find what works for you in your body Just gently rest your hands on your kneecaps and just sit up nice and tall for a second Feel the length through the back of your neck and just relax the shoulders Let's take a few big, deep breaths

so a nice big inhalenice big exhalenice big inhale nice big exhalegood And we're just going to do a gentle tuck of the pelvis, so feel your sit bones slide forward underneath you as you round back Take an inhaleas you exhale, feel your abdominals draw in and your belly round back up, and stack the spine So the first bit of the movement is the sit bones sliding forward underneath you to help you get the lumbar curve Rounding back take an inhaleexhale, pull those belly muscles towards you as you round back up and stack your spine Let's do that three more times Exhaleinhale pauseexhale round it up, and stack it up

Go ahead, again rounding back feel that stretch between the shoulders Belly draws in to help you come back up

and stack up nice and tall As you tuck your pelvis underneath you here, can you keep your pelvic floor engaged, lifting rather than pushing down or pushing forward? And round and back up and stack it tall On the next one we're going to add just a little bit of extension

So we round it back to straight arms Take a nice big inhaleexhale belly pulls in to come back up

Now from here give yourself little bit of a back extension, so chest lifting, heart opening Doesn't that feel lovely? Good and back down So now cross your legs And again pregnancy can cause some postural issues and one of those is that kind of concave chest, the forward shoulders, and that definitely happens once we start nursing and holding our babies So this is going to help to open up the chest and get us out of that

So actually go into the round back So feel that rounded shoulder, belly pulling backwards And then come forward, open your arms, open your chest

good and then round up and overand open wide, arms come back, chest lifts to the sky Doesn't that feel lovely? Round and over This is a really good one to do once you are nursing that baby – if you are nursing that baby, or feeding the baby with a bottle

Both require that forward posture that we want to get out of Good, heart opens, chest opens, energy through the arms One more timeround it overand lift it open Good! Okay we're going to come back down onto our elbows So leaning back, elbows propping you up If you need to support yourself with a towel or pillow underneath you, feel free I'm going to have the feeling of the chest lifting towards the sky, chest opening

So again, if you need to prop yourself up, feel free We're going to take the right knee to table top, left foot is going to stay on the ground You're just going to reach the leg straight out, draw the knee in Inhale out, exhale in So I have a little bit of a tuck on my pelvis here, that's making my back probably feel best I want you to find the position that works for you And reach it out – this is a great way to stabilize the core and work that transverse, without putting a lot of excess pressure on the belly Good

two more, one Good, let's reach it out and hold it We're going to flex the foot, bring it down, point the toe, bring it up

Flex and down, point lift up Let's exhale and inhalekeep that chest lifting

exhale and inhale Good, five more Exhale and inhalelift that chest – it gets easy to collapse, right? That's half the work is keeping that upper body active

Good, two more – down you go, up you go, down we go and up Good, place that down, adjust anything you need to adjust Find that deep abdominal connection, wrapping from all angles The opposite leg reaches out, draw the knee in, lengthen out And draw in and reach out

Exhale to draw in, inhale to lengthen Exhale in – and the bigger your belly, the less movement you're going to have in this exercise That's okay, just work with where you're at Good, two more here – and reach and in Good, reach the leg nice and long, lift your chest a little higher Flex the foot, lower it down Point the toe, bring it up Flex down, point up

Flex down, point up Anybody else feeling a little shaky? It's a lot of work actually And breathebreathe however feels natural to you We've got five more Five – lift that chest – four – reach longer with that leg – three and two, and one Good, bend the knee, help yourself back up for just a second Bring your knees open, soles of the feet together Sit nice and tall, just to let those hips open And then with a flat back, come forward to the point that feels comfortable to you

So flat back – try not to round – keep your spine long, your tailbone reaching back behind you Good, lengthen through the crown of the head, out through the tailboneand release the stretch Coming back down onto our elbows again, finding that lift of the chest, little bit of a tuck of your pelvis So kind of round it through your back From here pick up one leg, stabilize your midsection, so feel the wrap from 360 degrees, and float the other leg

Good, if this is enough for you, just hold Otherwise we're going to do a version of single leg and double leg stretch So inhale reach and switchand reach and switch Good, keep that tuck of the pelvis, so it should feel like your pubic bone is tipping towards the ceiling Good, the bigger your belly, the wider the kneesno problem there, just make it work for you

Good, one more set Both knees come in Float the right knee down, the left knee down, and just take a breather for a second

Adjust if you need to adjust Finding that scoop, float one leg back up, the other leg back up Legs are together if you can, inner thighs squeezing Inhale reach both legsexhale draw the knees back towards you Inhale reachexhale in So don't go too low with those legs, right? Find an angle that works for you This is what works for me right now

If I were to go any lower, I'd start to feel a pull in my lower back and I don't want that Inhale and exhale – inner thighs active

I'm shaking! Inhaleexhale – four morechest lifting Remember you can just hold your knees in tabletop if that works better for you; it's totally fine Last one Good, flip the feet down and push yourself up, coming back into that butterfly stretch one more time Soles of the feet together This time we're going to round it over, and stack it up So we kind of hinge and round, and stack it up It's really just getting movement through the spine and the pelvis

Good, one more timecoming forward to round itand stack it back up Alright from here, lie on your right side, or whichever side you want to start on first Going into our side planks We have options

You can do the full side plank if you're feeling strong; if not, you can keep your knees bent and lift from here, okay? I'm going to go for the full side plank, but I want you to do what feels better to you So from here, make sure that elbow is directly under your shoulder – not too narrow, not too far away – and that you're lifting out of that shoulder joint already So this is very shoulder intensive, okay? Feet are stacked, take a nice big inhaleas you exhale, lift your hips up off of the mat, reach your top arm to the sky, head in line with your spine, squeeze your inner thighs, hold This side plank remember you can do with your knees bent, that's totally fine I just want you to hold and breathe

Really push the ground away with that bottom elbow and lengthen through your heels, through the crown of the head, through your top arm Inner thighs squeezinggood, two more breaths Good! Lowering down, bring yourself all the way down onto a straight arm here

If you want to get a pillow or a towel to support your head, you can do that You're going to bring your bottom leg forward, your top leg is reaching straight out So this is again core work in the sense of stability, so it's not traditional, but it's definitely going to work I want you to try to lift your underside to create a mousehole If your belly is really big, you may not be able to do that very well

You may need a little padding under your belly, that's totally fine You could put a little towel there, okay? For the rest of us – well for all of us – whichever position you choose, you're going to flex your foot, you're going to draw little circles forward – two, three – now your goal here is keeping your pelvis stable So it's not about how big your circle is; it's about how stable and strong you feel through your midsection, back sides and front Okay, try to relax your top shoulder and breathe Good, reverse the circle Stay stable through your midsection

Your abs should be working right nowthat looks awesome Good, last two

and rest the leg down Alright, let's see the other side, starting first with our side plank I'll go ahead and do the modified version on this side

You're going to keep your elbow directly under your shoulder If you're doing the modified version, your knees will stay stacked You're going to lift from here So hips come up, take a nice big inhaleexhale, lift the hips off of the mat, reach your top arm to the ceiling, and just hold your balance here You still want that feeling of pushing the ground away with your elbows, active through your inner thighs

Try not to bring your head forward, so keep your head back in line with your spine Hold and breatheyou're getting stronger, doing such great things from your body right now

Stronger and more powerful Good, two more breaths hereand lowering down Good, come on to your side for me Rest your head on your straight arm, find your stacked position first, hips stacked, and your bottom leg will come forward Find that little lift under your waist, or imagine it if it's not quite there

You're going to flex the top foot, keeping your pelvis and midsection stable Circle forward for ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one Reverse that circle – one, two, three – good, really reach through the heel Good, abs drawing inand 10 Good, and rest the leg down

Nice job! Okay from here, come on to all fours So this is a modified version of a plank Your elbows are directly under your shoulders, hips are right over your knees Tuck your toes underneath you, so that you can eventually lift up onto them here I really want you to think of lifting that belly into the body, so we don't want this feeling of collapse that we get a lot of times in pregnancy

Pull the belly up, lift it up, press the ground away from you Take a nice big inhaleas you exhale, you're going to lift up so that your knees are hovering above the ground

You're pushing into all five fingers the entire palm of the hand Your head is in line with your spine and the knees are just hovering You're going to find your whole body engages here You've got everything going 0 you've got your abdominals working, your thigh muscles working, your glutes working, upper body – hold and breathe Really push the ground awayreach through your tailbone, reach through the crown of the head

Three more breaths here one more breath lower the knees down Nice job, you guys Come into a comfortable position for me So if you can sit like "this," wonderful

If you need to put a towel underneath your booty, or roll up a mat or pillows, that might help you if your hips are feeling a little bit tight But whatever works for you Just rest your arms for a second and close your eyes We're going to take some nice deep breaths, so with your eyes closed, your shoulders relaxed, take a nice big inhaleand a nice big exhale Nice big inhale, sending oxygen to those muscles that you just worked, sending oxygen to your baby

and exhale all the stale air, let everything come out, cleansing the system with your breath Good, one more just like that Good Now place your hands on your belly and connect with your baby for a second, and congratulate yourself for doing something wonderful for your body and your baby

Continue to breathe, take a nice big inhalenice big exhale Calming your mind, calming your nerves Breath is one of the most important things you can do for your health during pregnancy, and it will carry you through labor and delivery in such a wonderful way So focus on the breath, don't dismiss this part Take a few more big deep breaths

Feel your entire body start to relax One final breath Good And then opening your eyes You guys are done for the day! Thank you for joining me for this prenatal ab workout There are going to be more videos coming your way soon to help see you through a healthy pregnancy, working on all body parts We're going to be doing lower body, upper body, posture – all kinds of wonderful things So don't forget to subscribe to my channel, and I'll see you back here on your mat very soon!

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