Staying strong through your pregnancy won’t just ease aches and pains, it will help you feel a whole lot more prepared for delivery!
While you can safely continue to lift weights when you’re pregnant (with your doctor’s clearance), if you’ve never lifted before or you’re looking for a simpler option to maintain lower-body and core strength, your resistance band is about to become your new favourite training buddy.
Not only do bands assist you in keeping good form, but they also force you to activate muscles you might otherwise neglect. That’s why you’ll see a lot of lifters doing banded squats before picking up a barbell – to wake up their glutes. That mind-muscle connection a band can foster is extra important during pregnancy.
Women’s health physiotherapist and member of the FIT crew, Phoebe Armfield coached me through plenty of resistance band moves during my pregnancy – and now I’m going to share some of my favourites with you.
Ballerina squat abduction on chair
No, we’re not stealing ballerinas! The abduction in this exercise is moving the thighs away from the midline of your body to work your glutes, hips and inner thighs.
So, sitting on the edge of a chair, step both feet into a resistance band and bring it up to just above your knees. Sitting up straight, with your hands on the side of the chair for support, place your feet together on the floor (big toes touching), raised onto your tippy-toes. Keeping your feet together, pull your knees away from each other – pushing out against the resistance band – then bring them back together. Keep a steady pace: it might be a one count to push your knees apart, then one-two back together.
Banded monster walks
Standing with the band just above your knees, lower into a slight squat – knees partly bent and booty poking out like you would do for crab walks. Now you’re going to do an exaggerated walk: step your right leg forward and out to the side, then bring your left foot over to almost tap your right foot, before stepping your left leg forward and out, then right foot almost taps the left foot before stepping forward and so on.
When you get to the end of your mat, then reverse and monster walk backwards back to your starting point, and repeat. Take it slow and steady and please watch out for any toddlers, pets or toys when reversing!
This move will strengthen your hips and glutes, particularly the gluteus medius, which sits at the outer top of your booty and is essential for pelvic stability. If it’s not strong you can overcompensate, putting a strain on your back and knees.
You know this move, I’m just adding a resistance band to really fire up your glutes, while also working your quads and core. With the band a little higher above your knees, get into a squat stance with your feet a bit wider than your shoulders. Squat down as deep as you can comfortably go, then straighten back up and repeat.
One of the most common form mistakes with squats is knees caving in (or coming together) – using a band will help to stop this by forcing you to really push your thighs out against the band to complete the move.
Always consult your healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise program, as there are some situations where exercise may not be advised. This information should be used as a guide only and should not replace the advice of your medical practitioner.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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