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If you are Pregnant there is one piece of inexpensive kit I would HIGHLY recommend you borrow or purchase for your at home practice and also to help support you when you start to go into early Labor and that is the Swiss Exercise Ball/Birthing Ball. I have been using mine for years as it is such a versatile piece of equipment for core strengthening work, balance work and stretching. Now that I am coming towards the end of my Pregnancy I have been utilizing this piece of kit even more at home when working out to give me an additional layer of support or challenge. My Swiss Exercise Ball is also going to be part of my early labor birth plan as I plan to use the ball to alleviate lower back pain and help to open and release my pelvis. 

This week I am showing 4 great Pregnancy safe exercises you can perform on the Exercise Ball and next week I will show you some restorative stretches and release exercises to help prepare the body for delivery. 

 

 

E X E R C I S E   B A L L   W O R K O U T

{ 1 }  W A L L   S Q U A T   W I T H   W E I G H T S

ALIGN
For this exercise place the ball between your low back and a wall and take 1 weight into each hand. Position your feet slightly further forward & wider than your hips (when you bend into your squat your want your knees and ankles to stack). Maintain a neutral spine, keep your chest wide and arms straight. 

MOVE
Lower your hips down to a deep squat stopping the hips at knee height or above. As your hips lower lift your arms straight up to shoulder height. Press down through your heels to lift back up to standing lowering your weights down to your hips at the same time. Repeat this sequence x8 on the final 8 hold your squat and lift the arms up an inch and down an inch at shoulder height. 

Perform 3 sets of x8 Repetitions. 

 

{ 2 }  S I D E  P L A N K   W I T H   O B L I Q U E   C R U N C H E S

ALIGN
Position the ball underneath your side waist and extend your top leg out directly to the side and your underneath knee pressing down into the floor. Bring your hands to the back of your skull and energize your head and ears back. Maintain length through your side body and gently hug your abdominals in and back. 

MOVE
First side bend over the ball and think about drawing your waist away from the ball so you are engaged and not collapsing into the ball. Then using your obliques side bend towards your extended leg, drawing your elbow towards your hip. Repeat x8 on the final x8 hold your side bend and perform mini crunches towards your hip. 

Perform 2 sets of x8 Repetitions before switching sides. 
 

{ 3 }  B R I D G E   W I T H   H A M S T R I N G   C U R L S

ALIGN
Lie on your back and place the soles of your feet on the Ball in a table top position. Hug your bump towards your spine and either place your hands down by your side actively pressing into the floor or on your bump to avoid any 'coning' of the abdominals - you want to keep your bump smooth and round at all times. 

MOVE
Press your feet into the ball and push the ball away from you at the same time lift your hips off the floor into a bridge. If you are further along in your Pregnancy you may find you can only lift your hips slightly like me. Slowly roll the ball back in on the return and lower your hips to the floor. 

Perform 3 sets with x8 Repetitions. 

 

{ 4 }  B U L G A R I AN   L U N G E   W I T H   W E I G H T S

ALIGN
Place your back foot on top of the ball and stabilize your front leg with your knee and ankle bones stacking and hips squared forward. Hug your bump gently towards your spine to engage your core muscles and actively press down through your big toe mount of the supporting foot to maintain balance. 

MOVE
With control push the ball back behind you, maintaining your balance until you are in a deep lunge. Hinge your torso forward and reach your weights to the floor. On the return press down through your supporting heel to engage your glutes and slowly roll the ball back in towards your hips as your shoulders re-stack over your spine reach your arms straight up towards the ceiling. 

Perform 3 sets with x8 Repetitions before switching sides. 

Enjoy! 

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