My hometown lies at the foot of the mountains. This means there is no running without hills. Lots and lots of hills. Last week Micah and I did the 5-mile run my brothers mapped out. The whole of mile 2 is straight up hill. And the whole of mile 4 is straight down hill. As I was running down that hill, and trying not to topple forward in my unbalanced state, I could definitely feel the strain on my back. And I know this is a common complaint for pregnant women. All that extra weight around the abdomen, all that effort spent keeping yourself up-right when everything says you should be falling on your face with ever step is bound to do a number on your poor back. So I thought I would share some back-strengthening exercises in an effort to make the pregnant population just a little bit more comfortable. Because I’m nice like that.
These are from my Perfect Pregnancy Workout DVD, which I have taken up again since my belly was getting in the way of my Long and Lean Yoga sessions. I’ve done some research and found that these are some of the most popular/effective back-strengthening exercises for pregnant women. I find them to be helpful and I hope others of you do, too.
1. Get on your hands and knees. Raise one leg and the opposite arm so they are parallel to the ground (as shown below). Hold for 15-2o seconds. As you are holding your arm and leg, pretend that they are being pulled in opposite directions. Let them stretch apart. Switch sides. Repeat 2-3 times.
2. From hands and knees, alternately arch and round your back (as shown below) 8-10 times, holding for just a second or two each time. As you arch your back (top picture), tuck your pelvis in. As you round, release and relax as much as you can. If you would like, you can speed up the pace and do a few more where you don’t really hold the pose at all.
3. Get on your hands and feet, belly up (as shown below). Pulse your hips/belly up 10 times. Rest for a few seconds. Repeat.
If you have any other exercises or techniques that have helped relieve lower back pain in pregnancy, let us know in the comments!