By Anabel Chew
Barre workouts, based on Pilates principles, is a great workout for pregnant women because it is low-impact and safe. One of the major discomforts of pregnancy is lower back pain and the best way to counter this is working on your core and pelvic floor. Having a strong core and pelvic floor will help your body carry the additional weight of the baby during the pregnancy as well as aid in labor, and postpartum recovery. The WeBarre Pre-Natal exercises focuses on your core, pelvic floor muscles and back muscles, which are all key to good posture, balance and strength. They also help your back and pelvis to be supported. Pilates builds on core strength through a series of controlled, increasingly challenging movements that won’t put your body under strain — so that you can sculpt, tone, lengthen your entire body while engaging in a strong and efficient workout. The other benefits of doing a barre workout during pregnancy include decreasing pregnancy-related symptoms like nausea, fatigue and varicose veins, improve circulation, reduce swelling, and manage pregnancy weight gain. Our team here at WeBarre is ready to take you into your first barre workout with us whenever you are ready. But meanwhile, here are some easy Pre-Natal Barre workouts we do at WeBarre that you can try yourself at home!
1. Arm fans upper back
Standing with feet in first position, take a demi-plie and have your elbows close to the sides of your ribcage. Holding on to one dumbbell in each hand, squeeze into your shoulder blades, opening up the chest. Keep ‘fanning’ your arms while you draw both your shoulder blades in together, working on your upper back.
Watch for: Keeping your shoulders nice and relaxed
2. Chair Plie
Hold on to the top of a dining chair or a counter top for balance and with straight arms, sit into a imaginary chair behind you with a straight back. Alternate between sitting into your imaginary chair and coming up on your toes, straightening both legs. Take small pulses, one inch up and down, for eight reps, repeating for three to four sets. Next, take alternating heels lifts whilst continuing to pulse to challenge the calf muscles.
Watch for: Make sure your tailbone is pointing straight down to the floor with a flat back and have your shoulders stacked right over the hips. Have a right angle behind the back of your knees with sitting into your imaginary chair.
3. Hip rocks
Hold on to the top of a dining chair or counter top for balance, have both feet in first position. Take a demi-plie and then rock your hips from left to right while keeping the torso still. This works your quads, glutes, obliques and promotes freedom in the pelvis. Repeat for four sets of eight reps, taking a break in between each set if needed.
Watch for: Refrain from swinging your torso left and right but instead, try to isolate the rocking movement just in your hips. Keep the back straight, as if you are leaning against a wall.
4. Side Lying Clamshells
Lie on your sides with knees bent and feet in line with your hips, supporting your head with elbows resting on the mat and resting your head into your palms. Lift both feet off just 1-2 inches, keeping the feet glued together at all times while opening the knees out, like a clamshell. Repeat on the other side.
Watch for: Have the waist lifted and hips are stacked on top of one another. When opening and closing the clamshell, make sure the hips don’t roll back.
5. Supported planks
On the mat, get into a four-point kneeling position on your hands and knees. Keep your core engaged and hips square as you lift on leg off the mat, straightening the leg and pointing your toes. Lift and lower in full range for eight reps. Reduce the range and pulse up and down with the back pointed leg for two sets of eight reps, then finding your balance, gently float off the opposite hand, pulsing for another two sets of eight reps to challenge your core and stability. Repeat on the other side
Watch for: Keep your shoulders relaxed, hips square, no arch in the lower back and keep support elbows slightly bent, having both your shoulders over your wrist.
Anabel Chew is the co-founder of WeBarre, Singapore’s first boutique barre studio. Barre combines ballet technique, yoga, pilates and strength training in an invigorating workout to transform your body. To find out more about their pre natal (and other) classes, please click here.