If you find yourself sitting more than you’d like these days, chances are your core and lower body could use a wake-up call. Walking and running outside is a great way to get blood flow in those areas but we still need to maintain muscle strength for stability and our overall health. We want to be able to maintain our strength to get right back into the gym, fitness classes, or everyday activities that we’re all missing out on now when this quarantine is over! For me, being 33 weeks pregnant, keeping up with my core and lower body strength is so important. It helps with my back pain and will give me an easier time when delivering and recovering from giving birth. (All of these exercises are safe to do during a healthy pregnancy as long as you have been active before and throughout pregnancy and have no injuries. Always check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity.)
A resistance band will make all of these exercises more challenging, but it is not necessary if you don’t have one.
1. Quadruped Plank Donkey Kick– Place the resistance band over your thighs just above your knees. Get onto all fours with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your hips directly over your knees. Maintain a neutral spine with your abs scooped in as you lift your knees slightly off the ground. Without changing your posture or lifting your knees any higher, lift one leg up while keeping tension on the band. Think of pressing your heel on the ceiling. Keep your hips square as you try to get your knee up to hip height. Slowly lower the leg back down and repeat to do 10 reps on each leg. Rest for 30 seconds in between sides by coming back down onto your knees. Do 3 sets.
2. Quadruped Plank Hydrant Lift– Place the resistance band over your thighs just above your knees. Get onto all fours with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your hips directly over your knees. Maintain a neutral spine with your abs scooped in as you lift your knees slightly off the ground. Without changing your posture or lifting your knees any higher, lift one knee straight out to your side keeping tension on the band. Lower the knee back down to your quadruped plank position slowly and with control. Do 10 reps on each leg. Rest for 30 seconds in between sides by coming back down onto your knees. Do 3 sets.
3. Forearm Plank Toe Taps– Get into a forearm plank position with the band around your ankles. Separate your legs just enough to feel slight tension on the band to start. Press into your elbows and forearms to lift up and out of your shoulder blades. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Take your right leg and open it out to the side and repeat on the left, creating even more tension on the band as your legs are wider apart. Bring the right foot back in and then the left foot back in. Repeat the “out, out, in, in” pattern 10 times. Rest for 30 seconds and then do another set starting with the left foot tapping out next.
4. Side Plank Leg Abduction– Place the band around your thighs just above your knees. Side plank on your left forearm with your left leg bent and your right leg straight in parallel with just the foot touching the ground. (I’m doing a modified side plank because of my pregnancy but you can make this more challenging by keeping both legs straight for a full side plank.) With your right hand on your hip, lift your right leg up keeping tension on the band at all times. Do 10 leg abductions slowly and with control as you hold your side plank, staying strong and lifted in your left lat. Repeat on the other side. Do 3 sets with a 30 second rest in between sets.
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Video: Crystal Chin