Core training during pregnancy can be confusing (for obvious reasons), but training your core, especially connecting to the basics, can be very beneficial. You may just need to expand your definition of core exercises beyond sit-ups and planks.
What is your core
When you think of your core, ideally you want to think of it like a canister. This includes your diaphragm, pelvic floor, and abdominal muscles such as the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, and multifidus.
Typically, when incorporating core exercises, it’s important to train in multiple patterns: rotation, anti-rotation, flexion, and extension. During pregnancy, flexion and extension exercises can become uncomfortable or even symptomatic (ex: coning) as your belly grows. It is absolutely ok to remove these patterns from your training during this phase of your athleticism.
You may find yourself more comfortable using this time to connect to the deeper core muscles and help to build a foundation and connection between your breath, core, and pelvic floor. One way to do this is to incorporate diaphragmatic breathing and transverse abdominis (TA) contractions into your training, even if it’s simply part of the warmup. These exercises will help you to connect to your deep core, relax your pelvic floor, and set up a more solid foundation for a postpartum return to fitness.
Top core exercises for pregnancy
The following are some of my favorite core exercises that I like to incorporate for my pregnant clients. If you feel symptomatic during the exercises (ex: coning, pressure, leaking urine, etc), play around with breathing patterns or position changes to help you reduce intra abdominal pressure.
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- TA Contraction
- Bear crawls
- Pallof press
- Carries (farmer, suitcase, waiter, overhead, mixed)
- Ball slams (use a wall ball to keep from having to bend over as far)
- ½ kneeling elbow to knee
- Front rack exercises (holds, squats, goblet squats)
Want more info on exercising during pregnancy, from when you should cut out burpees to how to adjust your training by trimester? Core and Pelvic Floor Basics for Lifters is for you.
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