First off, my next post is going to be about the challenges of pregnancy and training. I am starting to worry that you all think I am in the gym every day training super hard. Not the case. Sometimes, I just watch Netflix with a corndog in one hand and a milkshake in the other. So…yeah, stay tuned for my reality check!
Now…on to core!
I have been getting a few questions regarding training core, and again, while I am not an expert, I can tell you what I have found with the help of Kris Hampton at Power Company Climbing.
It seems obvious that we shouldn’t be doing sit-ups etc while pregnant. It also isn’t a good idea to do any sort of twists (russian twists) or planks or push ups as these put us into positions that may cause strains. The weight of the belly can pull down and hurt our backs while in plank, and of course, I think that Russian Twists are just an obvious no-no. But, if your previous core workouts included a ton of sit-up variations, you might be lost right now!
Core is important! Remember, core isn’t just abs (and mine have separated) Apparently, this separation is called diastasis recti and is common in pregnant women. It happened to me during my last pregnancy, and I thought it happened to everyone until I did some research. When you look it up on WebMD, you will find that it sounds kind of extreme, and the site cautions you against push-ups and plank and some yoga poses. That makes sense. It also cautions you to avoid heavy lifting, which is true, BUT, you can lift if you are doing it right and not pushing too far. So, if ever there is a time to drop the ego, now is it. I take all of my weights down so that my form can be as close to perfect as possible. I am also one of those lame people that film myself a lot in the gym. But filming is great for looking at form.
Anyway, my abs came back together no-prob after the last baby, and I suspect they will again. We shall see. But this post is about some great core exercises we CAN do. They mostly involve kettlebells as low weights. Kris Hampton did his research and put together my workouts which include some other things in the super-sets, but to avoid giving away all his training plan, I will just share the core aspect.
Turkish Get Up
This is awesome because it is slow, focused and safe! For me, I really have to focus on being “perfect” which in turn causes me to really focus on stability. And what keeps us stable? Core. The weight I use is 20lbs, but I would start with no weight to get the hang of things. Also, there are great youtube videos out there if you want instruction. Follow this link to a good instructional video. These things are a bit complicated! https://youtu.be/CCV02JdQkwI
Half-Rack Kettle Bell Squat
A lot of these exercise aren’t just working core, but they are working the whole body. If you are fit going into labor, surely labor will be easier! And recovery will be much easier.
Kettlebell 1 Arm Overhead Press
My husband at first questioned why I was including this one, but the truth is, when I do this, I feel not just my shoulder and arm work, but I also engage my core. Try it! You will see.
Kettlebell suitcase carry
You will look stupid doing this one, and if you video it, people will make fun of you. But man, it is hard to walk a straight line with absolute control (slowly) while carrying weight. You really have to focus on form for this to be effective. Look at it as training for carrying the carseat!
Half Kneeling Pallof Press with Vertical Lift
I had to watch the video of this one a bunch, but I finally got it. I did make the error of not having my back toes curled under me. So note that. This one is another simple core exercise that doesn’t seem like it is doing much, but by the end of your set, you will find yourself starting to lose stability which means you are obviously working!