Our top tips for using an exercise ball during pregnancy
Hey gorgeous! Lean in close, ‘cause we’ve got a secret for you.
What if we told you that there is a product that can make your pregnancy more comfortable, make prenatal exercise easier (and way fun!), can keep you strong while your body changes – and it’s perfectly legal?
We kid you not!
Ready to meet your new secret weapon that is sure to take you to prenatal greatness?
Enter: the exercise ball.
Yeah, that thing that cubicle workers sometimes use as a chair. They claim it’s to help with their core, and it looks crazy fun.
But as it turns out, lovely, an exercise ball isn’t just a quirky office supply. It can actually be a game-changer for your changing bod.
Why should you try one? Let us count the ways.
Not totally convinced that something that looks like a giant toy can actually help you during pregnancy?
Don’t worry – we’ve got some great reasons, so grab a snack and listen up, buttercup.
First, think about why non-pregnant people use them. To strengthen their core, right? When you’re pregnant, mama, you can get the same benefits.
A pregnant woman CAN have a strong core, and an exercise ball is perfect for helping you stabilize and engage your core muscles even while your body is changing and growing.
Second, you can even prevent damage to your precious core muscles – in the form of diastasis recti, or the separation of your midline abdominal muscles – with targeted exercises.
We’ll share some in a minute.
Third, an exercise ball can help you get read for labour in your third trimester.
Choosing your ball
If you want to start using an exercise ball during your pregnancy – and we think it’s a great idea! – you’ve got to start with the right fit.
Don’t panic – finding the right size exercise ball is a lot simpler than finding the right size nursing bra. And it doesn’t have quite as many hooks, either.
Here’s the only rule: When you sit on it, have a look at your hips and knees. As long as they’re both bent at 90 degrees, you’re good to go.
If you’re ordering online and can’t take it for a roll in person, most manufacturers offer sizing charts so you can easily choose the right ball for your height.
Smooth out your workouts
Incorporating an exercise ball into your workouts is a great way to add some fun while keeping the moves nice and gentle.
We’ve got some great moves you can try right now:
Warm up pelvic tilts
Sit on your ball. Placing your hands on your hips, tuck your buns under while caving in your lower tummy. Then stick your tail out and arch your lower back. These pelvic tilts will loosen up all of the lumbar spine joints and wake up your spinal muscles and core.
Place your ball behind your back just beneath your shoulder blades. Step your feet out in front slightly, and bend your knees into a squat (make sure to keep your knees behind your toes). Then squeeze your buns tight to return to start.
Seated dumbbell lifts
Sit on your ball and hold one dumbbell in each hand. From here, you can do many of your favorite lifts: bicep curls, overhead presses, or flys. Keep your core engaged, and remember to breathe through each lift. Remember to walk your feet out so your thighs aren’t resting on the ball only your booty. This is what makes your core come online and makes you work harder!
Transverse foot raises
To help strengthen the muscles in danger from diastasis recti, sit on your ball and place your hands on your hips. Slowly, on a controlled exhale, lift one foot a few inches off the ground. No need to be an overachiever here–just a little bit really helps your core. Repeat with your other foot, and do a few reps each. Sore in the pubic symphysis with this? Then just lift your heels.
This is just a sampling of the heaps of creative ways to use an exercise ball during pregnancy–we’d love you hear your secrets!
Leave us a comment and tell us your favourite exercise ball moves!
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