As some of you might know, I have been working out ever since before I was pregnant. I took a break during my 1st trimester and started again during my 2nd. I have received many stares and concerned looks at the gym where I workout. I’ve also received comments on my Facebook and Instagram about how I shouldn’t be working out as it would lead to pre-term labour or a miscarriage. But my advise is – All in moderation.
Many would say that squats and lunges are a big No-no when you’re pregnant but they are one of the few essential workouts that you need to do during your pregnancy. In our daily life, we squat more than we realize, only that we tend to bend forward while picking up things (not THAT’s a big No-no!).
- Benefits of squats includes
- Increase pelvic floor muscle strength
- Prevent pelvic and lower back pain
- Prepare for labour
- Strong birth position
- A great looking butt
Apart from doing your kegal exercises, squats (with proper technique) can help to strengthen your pelvic floor which in turn helps to elevate any kind of pelvic pain. Squats would also strengthen your glutes which would help in decreasing any lower back pain as it helps to stabilize your pelvis. This functional exercise also mirrors a position that you can hold longer while in labour. Strengthening your leg muscles with squats gives you more endurance in your birthing positions, especially the ones that allows gravity to assist in pulling the baby lower and opening the pelvis wider which would definitely help if you’re afraid of tearing during delivery. And as mentioned before, squats works your glutes so in the end of the day, you will get awesome looking butt!
But despite the benefits of squats, there are times when its not advisable to do them. Always check with your doctor before starting on any new workout during your pregnancy. Make sure you have a personal trainer or someone who is experienced to correct you in your squatting technique. If you are in pain, then stop. Avoid squats at all cause if you have high risk pregnancy or are going through any kind of complications.
Other than that, you should be fine. =D
Note: As your tummy gets bigger, you would have to spread your legs wider. Focus on doing Sumo Squats rather than regular ones when that happens.
As for lunges, many tend to avoid doing this especially in the later trimester as it gets harder to balance. If you’re at the gym, use the straps of the TRX or anything that secured to a wall to help maintain your balance. At home, you can use a chair to help with your balance.
The benefits of lunges are pretty similar to squats. Lunges keeps the hip flexible making it easier to spread the legs during delivery. It helps strengthen your lower back and legs and is also a simple core exercise that doesn’t require you to lie on your back.
When doing lunges, remember to keep your back straight and make sure that your knee is align with your ankles. Push upwards using your heel and not your toes. Don’t lean forward as it would add pressure to your knee. Lift your back heel and feel the muscles tighten as you come up. This would make your hamstrings stronger and lift your butt.
You can use weights with both exercise but always remember to maintain at 70% – 80% intensity. What I do is that I cut down my regular weight to 50%, so if I was using a 6kg dumbbell before I was pregnant, now I just use 3kg. Remember – workouts during pregnancies are to help maintain your fitness so focus on high repetitions rather than high weights.
If you would like to share your experiences on how squats and lunges has helped you in your pregnancy, feel free to leave a comment. You can also ask me questions if you have any and I will try to answer them as best as I could.
Until then, stay strong!