Wonder Bump Antenatal Exercises

Squat Sits

With your arms parallel to the floor, bend your knees, sitting back into your heels as you squeeze your bum and thighs. Keep squeezing your buttocks as you straighten your legs and return to starting position.

10-15 reps

Wall Sits

Feet placed hip width apart and your feet a comfortable distance away from the wall whilst your back is flat against the wall. You should have two right angles, one at your knees and one at your hips as you slide yourself down the wall and raise yourself back up again.

Repeat this slowly five times.

Plie Squats

Stand parallel to a wall or the back of a sturdy chair with the hand closest to the chair resting on it. Keep your feet parallel and hip-distance apart. Ensure your legs are not too wide apart to avoid a risk of SPD (symphis pubis dysfunction).

With your toes and knees turned out to 45 degrees, pull your belly button up and in. Bend your knees, lowering your torso as low as possible while keeping your back straight. Straighten your legs to return to starting position.

10-15 reps.

Lying Leg Lifts

Lying on your side, make sure your head is supported by your forearm. Bend your bottom leg and keep your top leg straight. Place your opposite arm on the floor to support for stability. Lift your top leg to about hip height and repeat for 10-15 reps. Follow up with 10-15 pulses.

Then, bend your top leg and rest it on top of a pile of pillows for support. Straighten your bottom leg and lift it as high as possible for 10-15 reps.

 Switch sides.

Plank/Half plank

On all fours, place your hands underneath your shoulders. Options here are to keep knees on the floor or lift them up by straightening legs and ensure your body forms a nice straight line from your neck down to tailbone or down to your ankles if knees are lifted. It’s important your back doesn’t arch or curve.

Hold for 5 long breaths.

Ab Contractions

On all fours, hands stacked underneath shoulders and knees stacked underneath hips, push your breath out as you contract and pull your tummy muscles in and inhale deeply as you expand your diaphragm. You can also do pelvic squeezes in this position.

8-10 long breaths in and out

Cat Pose into Cow Pose

Still on all fours, rock your hips and pelvis slowly into a forward and back motion. Inhale, then exhale, round your back like a cat and hold for a few seconds then reverse the motion by inhaling and drawing and lifting your chest forward and up whilst you retract your shoulder blades back and again hold for a few seconds.

Repeat 3-5 times.

Bicep curls

Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench with your back straight, feet placed on the floor, arms lowered at your sides. Hold low-weight dumbbell or similar in each hand, palms facing up and knuckles facing out. Bend your elbows so your arms form a 90-degree angle. Lift the weight up to shoulder height and lower to starting position. Make you don’t overload with the weight so your back ends up arching.

10-15 reps.

Lateral Raises

Sat on a chair or bench, or stood with feet positioned either hip width apart or in split stance. Hold low-weight dumbbells or similar at either side of your body and slowly raise your arms laterally to just below shoulder height, keep elbows soft, knuckles facing out to either side and lower.

10-15 reps.

Shoulder Presses

Sat on a chair with back support, or stood feet positioned either hip-width apart or in split stance, hold low-weight dumbbells or similar. Place them upright on top of your thighs. Raise weights to shoulder height, palms facing forward, elbows at 90 degrees. Push dumbbells up so they touch at the top and slowly lower to starting position.

10-15 reps

Tricep Kick-backs

Grab a chair or bench, bend one leg and place your knee on the seat and the other foot on the floor. Bend forward, back parallel to the floor, and place the hand that’s the same side as the bent knee on the seat. Hold a low-weight dumbbell or similar in your other hand and extend the arm down in line with your shoulder, palm facing in.
Bend the elbow up behind you so that your arm forms a 90-degree angle. Hold and return to starting position.

10-15 reps, then switch sides.

Tree Pose

From mountain pose (feet placed hip width apart, stand nice and tall), bend one knee shifting all the weight into the standing leg. Turn your bent knee outwards, resting the heel against the opposite leg. Stay here if you feel comfortable. To increase the intensity of this balance pose, slowly slide the foot up so the sole of the foot is placed against the inner thigh, grabbing the ankle for balance and positioning. Look down to help focus. Slowly bring the palms together in prayer position in front of the heart. Keep the standing leg nice and strong. If you would like to extend further, inhale to extend the arms over the head so they are in in H position or put your palms together with thumbs crossed. Long neck, shoulders back and down.

Breathe, hold for 4-8 deep breaths and repeat sides.

Downward Facing dog

Use a yoga mat or non-slip surface for this one. Start on all fours, hands underneath your shoulders, knees under your hips. Tuck your toes under and spread you fingers wide. Exhale and straighten your arms and legs, pushing your tailbone towards the ceiling.

Allow your neck and shoulders to relax and push down towards your heels. Try to get them as close to the floor as possible but don’t lock the knees or hyperextend. Remember pregnant ladies are a lot more flexible due to the relaxin hormone.

Come back into the resting position on all fours and wait for a half a minute or so before repeating the pose. Don’t hold it for longer than feels comfortable.

Hold postion for 3 – 5 long breaths and repeat up to 5 times.

Superman pose

On all fours, extend your opposing leg and arm with other hand and knee supporting your stance, hold in your core as you reach up and out. Hold for 10 seconds and swap.

Repeat 4-8 times.

Lunges

Step forward with one foot and make sure your knee does not go over your toes as you bend it. Ensure both feet are facing forwards and as you lower yourself towards the ground, both knees should be at 90 degree angles. You can increase the intensity of this exercise by adding low-weight dumbbells or similar.

10-15 reps each leg.

Donkey  kick backs

On all fours. Raise one foot, keeping it flexed, and maintain the 90 degree angle as you raise your leg behind you. Then lower and bring your knee in towards your tummy. This works bum and core.

10-15 reps each leg.

Press Ups

Options for position are on your knees or your toes. Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and keep your neck nice and long, looking down as you slowly lower your chest to the ground in between your palms.

10-12 reps.

Tricep dips

Using a chair or bench, place both feet on the ground with knees at 90 degree angle or with one foot resting on the other leg to give yourself a nice strong base. Knuckles facing forward, elbows facing behind you, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you slowly lower yourself, bending your elbows to 90 degrees.

10-12 reps

Pelvic Squeezes – Sat down with back up against the wall or on all fours hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. Carry out some short bursts of squeezes followed by long holds – focus on contracting both your front and back passages – like you’re stopping urine and keeping yourself from breaking wind at the same time. Try to imagine the different levels of your pelvic floor muscles – like you are going from ground level up in an elevator.

Try to fit in as many of these as possible.

Also, aim to do a set of 20-50 a day for the first few weeks post labour, it’ll make such a difference!

N.B. I will be doing a video to demonstrate all of these once my foot is bit less of a broken swollen mess (I’ll leave the trampoline parks to the kids next time 😉 ) !

Click here for my Wonder Bump Guide to Pregnancy Fitness blog