My favorite “feel good” prenatal exercise is the move traditionally known as “Cat-Cow.” Clearly, the person who named this exercise was NOT pregnant. Furthermore, I still can’t imagine ANY woman who would feel sexy doing a move called “Cow.” “Cat,” on the other hand I can somewhat understand- cats can be sly, sexy, & mysterious. (I’m actually not a cat person, but I get it.)
My point being: When I teach this exercise, I call it “Round & Release.” (And I encourage all of you who train or teach pregnant women to do the same.) It’s not only fabulous for anyone who wants a great back stretch, but it can also be used to work your core muscles. This is why it’s such a wonderful exercise during pregnancy. It’s a great substitute when you can no longer do sit ups.
How To: Begin on all fours with you hands aligned your shoulders and your knees with your hips. 1) Take a deep breath, exhale, and ROUND your back to the ceiling. Try to let your head & neck relax. Tuck your tailbone & pull the abs in and up as you do this. (If you’re pregnant, think of bringing your baby closer to your spine.)
2) Inhale & RELEASE. Let your back arch, your belly soften and your pelvis release (this part may feel more difficult as your pregnancy progresses, so only go to the point that feels comfortable).
I found that the further along I was in my pregnancy, the more I appreciated “Round & Release.” Not only did it become my “replacement crunch” (along with plank), but the stretch felt amazing in my shoulders & back as I became bigger & bigger in front. This exercise has also been said to be successful in moving and keeping your baby in a favorable position for birth. So if you’re looking for something to help you continue working your core during pregnancy, to provide an amazing stretch, and to hopefully keep your baby in a healthy position, Round & Release your way to labor!
Leave a comment below if you had success with this exercise during your pregnancy . . . or if you have questions or comments regarding other exercises, I’d love to hear!