Three exercises perfect for expectant mothers with Maria Ludeke


Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Maria Ludeke, Owner of Sweat Practice, shares good exercises for expectant moms.

Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, but approaching it safely is key to preventing injury and maintaining strength for the long nine months. There are many exercises you should avoid that involve risk of falling like skiing and cycling, however most exercises especially if you were doing them pre pregnancy are encouraged. Walking, swimming, pilates, and yoga are amongst the most recommended forms of exercise. Plan on skipping exercises that include lying on your back after the first trimester, avoid twisting as that can be uncomfortable, decrease high impact movements the further along you are, and definitely rethink your core routine.

You don’t need to skip core entirely when pregnant, but crunches and traditional “six pack” ab moves can lead to worse ab separation or diastasis recti. Instead focus on your transverse abdominis and obliques to create nature’s support belt. Without a strong core acting as a corset to lift and hold the weight of a growing belly, it’s easy to develop low back and pelvic pain. Here are three exercises to work your transverse abdominis and obliques.

Belly Breathing: Take a deep breath in letting your stomach and ribs expand and then as you exhale think about first lifting your pelvic floor and then wrap your abdominals like you are gently tightening a corset around your torso. Avoid holding your breath and move smoothly from your inhales to exhales at about a 5 second count. You can do this standing or seated.

Birddog: Begin in table top and use the belly breathing technique to engage your transverse abdominis. On your inhale, reach opposite arm and leg long parallel to the floor trying to maintain level hip bones and shoulders. Exhale and pull elbow and knee center. Repeat, focusing on your breath, balance, and belly button hugging to your spine.

Side Plank: Lying on your side, come to your forearm, placing your elbow under your shoulder. Bottom knee can rest on the floor as you lift your hips up staying stacked and stable. Use your obliques to keep lifting your hips to the sky. Hold for 20-30 seconds or try adding variations if it’s too easy.

Sweat Practice is a personal training studio, offering virtual and in person training options for individuals and small groups. We help you stay motivated and accountable to your wellness goals by building safe, enjoyable, and effective training programs.

We offer both in person and virtual personal training for individuals, couples, and small groups. Our training programs are built to help you prevent injury, build strength and stamina, and enjoy your fitness routine. The most important part of any program is staying consistent so we want you to enjoy your workouts and focus on positive goals. We offer general fitness training, performance training, and pre/postnatal training. Visit our website for more details.

If you’re looking to begin training, we start with a free 30 minute consult that can either be booked via zoom or in person. Contact to get started! Your first personal training session is FREE, see if it’s a good fit for you at no cost. We have a studio located in Urbana but we also make home visits and train at the ARC on campus. We support you reaching your wellness goals, so you can feel healthier and happier.

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