Follow along with this quick tutorial of 3 Pregnancy Ab Exercises, some of my favorites to help engage your core. These 3 pregnancy ab exercises are actually a great overall strengthening routine, challenging your back, glutes and, of course, your core. In pregnancy, core strength is key to avoiding strain, injury and unnecessary discomfort.
The extra support provided by the chair will help in the 3rd trimester when you’re feeling off balance, and each of the 3 pregnancy ab exercises will also help you rebuild your core, low back and leg strength postpartum.
These gentle exercises are generally safe during all stages of pregnancy, as well as once you’re cleared for exercise after baby. For added challenge or support, increase or decrease reps + your dependence on the chair for balance, based on how you feel!
NOTE: To perform these exercises with extra support and improve stabilization (especially during late pregnancy) use a firm, tall chair that can support your weight. Be sure to complete these exercises on a non-slip surface, such as a yoga mat, so your chair doesn’t slide out from under you! Modify reps and use of the chair to increase or decrease core challenge and intensity.
EXERCISE 1: Standing Cat-Cow
- Holding your chair, gently walk backward, about arm’s length away.
- Find + strengthen the pelvic floor, by zipping up your belly and gently hugging your baby (if postpartum, simply engage the core).
- Strengthen and stretch arms out straight with feet about hip-width apart.
- Sink down to flat back, spreading the sits bones and relaxing the pelvis.
- Inhale, and press your palms into the chair, lengthening the spine.
- Exhale, round spine up, engaging core, glutes, and back.
- Repeat as desired.
This is a great exercise to engage the mid-back. Remember that your core isn’t just your abdominals, rather it includes everything from your hips to your chest. To properly engage your core and get the most out of your exercises, you’ll want to be conscious of how your whole body works through each movement.
EXERCISE 2: Plie Squat
- Begin with your hand on the chair, slightly out in front of you.
- Bring your heels close together, elevated off the floor into a standing plie position.
- Inhale, lower to a gentle squat or pulse, sending the hips back (raise arm or arms depending on desired intensity).
- Exhale, press to stand, maintaining elevated heels (lower arms).
This exercise will help you to find more core strength into 3rd trimester and help improve core strength postpartum. For an added challenge, add in both arms at a time instead of using the chair. If you’re using the chair to stabilize, be sure to alternate arms halfway through.
EXERCISE 3: Standing Reach & Curls
- Beginning in the same start position as exercise 1, stand arm’s length from the chair with feet slightly closer together.
- Stand straight and tall, lightly engaging the pelvic floor.
- Inhale, bend the knee to bring the right leg up to the belly at a 90-degree angle.
- Exhale, and send the leg back while leaning forward, hands extending to the chair. Keeping hips square, the right leg and back should be parallel.
- Return to standing tall, both feet on the ground.
Try ten reps with each leg, then alternate back to the first leg and repeat. Repetition will help open the hips. Modify leg extension and use of chair to increase or decrease intensity.
Remember, each of these 3 pregnancy ab exercises can be modified for intensity, which makes them a great addition to any routine. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routines, and to remember the Talk Test, to gauge an appropriate intensity.
Want More? If you loved these 3 Pregnancy Ab Exercises, check out the links below for more tutorials, information, and programs available!