Can I do ab exercises while pregnant? Yes! Avoid sit ups and crunches and focus on pregnancy-safe ab exercises that strengthen the deepest abdominal muscles (transverse abdominals), core and pelvic floor. These are the five BEST abdominal exercises that are safe to perform during pregnancy (specifically during the first and second trimesters).
Most women shy away from doing abs during pregnancy because they think they’re not safe.
BUT keeping your core strong during pregnancy is important! It can help you avoid common pregnancy aches and pains, as well as assist with labor, delivery and postpartum recovery.
Your abs are so much more than the rectus abdominus (six-pack abdominal muscles).
And during pregnancy you want to focus on safe prenatal core exercises that strengthen the deepest abdominals; your transverse abs which wrap around your body like a natural corset.
It’s also important during pregnancy to strengthen your oblique muscles that run along the sides of your midsection, your glutes, and all the stabilizing muscles along your spine and pelvis.
In general, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says it’s safe to continue regular exercise during pregnancy.
This includes most abdominal exercises you were doing pre-pregnancy (with some modifications as needed, especially if you’re coming into pregnancy with existing diastasis recti).
These high pressure flexion movements can put a lot of outward pressure against your already stretching abdominal connective tissue.
Creating issues like “diastasis recti” (abdominal separation often referred to as DR).
Learn more in this post on 5 Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy and Pregnancy-Safe Modifications.
In general, yes.
Planks or modified planks are safe for most women throughout pregnancy. And they can strengthen the core, deep ab muscles and back. That said, there may come a time when you need to modify or stop doing planks while pregnant…
You know it’s time to start modifying your core exercises for pregnancy when you experience ‘coning’ or ‘doming’ of the belly (pictured above).
In this 10-Minute Prenatal Ab Workout for the first and second trimester we’ve included modifications for how to adapt each ab exercise as your pregnancy progresses.
Looking for substitutes to sit-ups while pregnant? Keep your abs STRONG during pregnancy with these 5 abdominal exercises that are SAFE during pregnancy.
You can start doing these prenatal ab exercises as soon as you find out you’re pregnant; and continue them from your first trimester into your second trimester of pregnancy.
These five pregnancy safe ab exercises build strong abs and supporting core muscle (low back, glutes, hips, outer glutes). To help you avoid common pregnancy pains like lower back pain, Sciatica and pubic symphysis (SPD during pregnancy).
Add this quick, 10-minute prenatal core workout to your weekly workout routine 2-3 times a week to build a strong core at home.
Beginner: Use just your bodyweight, or add a sweat towel (follow Rachel on the left in the video).
Advanced: Use a light-to-medium resistance band (follow Lindsey on the right in the video).
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Follow along with the guided Pregnancy Safe Ab Workout on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer and prenatal fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren.
The video will provide demonstrations of each ab exercise for pregnancy, as well as options to modify as your pregnancy progresses.
I’ll coach you through all five ab exercises that are safe during pregnancy, providing form cues and pregnancy modifications.
Alternatively, work through the 5 best abdominal exercises to perform during pregnancy below at your own pace.
The Prenatal Core Workout Looks Like This:
Perform all single-sided core exercises (2 and 3) on the right side of the body for the first set, then on the left side for the second set.
Targets: Deep transverse abdominals, lower abs, upper abs, low back, hips, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and upper body.
Modification: Omit the resistance band and use a sweat towel.
How to do a Kneeling Hip Lift with Core Breathing (and optional band pull apart):
Targets: Every muscle in your core; including: deep transverse abdomen muscles, rectus abdomens (six pack ab muscles), oblique muscles, shoulders and quads.
Your core is designed to stabilize your body as your arms and legs move away from your body. The bear crawl is an excellent exercise in core control and focused breathing.
Modification: Find a modified plank position (knees on the mat) rather than a bear crawl position.
How to do a Bear Crawl 3-Point Hand Tap:
Targets: Obliques, deep TA abs, outer glutes, hips and shoulders.
Modification: Omit the resistance band.
How to do a Modified Side Plank and Outside Leg Lift:
Targets: Rectus abdomens (six pack ab muscles), transverse abs (deep corset abs under the six pack ab muscles), obliques, shoulders and back.
Modification: Option to use a towel rather than a resistance band and alternate sending your right and left leg straight back to engage your core (standing warrior or standing bird dog).
How to do a Hinged Band Pull with TA Contractions:
Targets: Every core muscle — upper abs, lower abs, deep TA abs, obliques, shoulders, back, hips and quads.
Modification: Find a modified plank position (on knees) rather than a bear crawl position. Alternate dropping your right and left knees to the mat from high plank to modified plank. Alternatively, just hold modified plank from your knees.
How to do Bear to Plank:
Note: Every body and every pregnancy is different. Before you begin an exercise program, especially during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor or midwife. As always listen to your body and avoid exercises that do not feel good for you.
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