how to exercise safely during pregnancy

To Plank or Not to Plank?

The Myth:

It's safe to hold planks during pregnancy. 

 
 

 

Why this myth exists

Women are often told by their care providers that it's safe to continue doing whatever workout they did before pregnancy.  For many women their pre-pregnancy workout included planks, pushups, planks holds, etc.  And if you aren't well versed in the topic of Diastasis Recti, it's not an exercise that you would necessarily think of as a contraindication so many women continue doing them without realizing the damaging they may be causing to their core. 

FPC's answer

Pregnancy and early postpartum is the time to train our bodies with the utmost attention to detail.  For us, that means fully integrating the inner core unit, aka what we call Pump & Kegel®, in EVERY single movement from the moment we find out we are pregnant...if not before!  

We perform what we call "moving planks" at FPC in order to fully integrate the inner core unit and protect the linea alba (the connective tissue connecting the two halves of our 6-pack abs together), from any additional outward pressure or strain.  Holding a plank potentially increases that outward pressure that we are trying to avoid.  When it can no longer sustain the pressure, it can stretch beyond what’s considered “normal” during pregnancy, causing what's called a diastasis recti.  

At FPC, we teach that you use your breath, with a properly engaged Pump & Kegel®, to move in and out of a plank position.  This is the way to safely modify your planks during pregnancy and early postpartum.

 

* If you aren't able to maintain the core integration, if you feel outward pressure on the abdominal wall (pushing out) or if you ever see coning or doming through the abs, you should eliminate this exercise completely.  It's best to perform moving plank work under the watchful eye of a qualified trainer or specialist.  

 


Join us for our “Protecting your Core for Birth and Postpartum” workshop with our co-founder, Joanie Johnson, on Wednesday, July 3rd 6:30-8Pm to make sure you are properly protecting your core during your workouts and every day movements from a potential Diastasis Recti.   

Understanding Your DIAPHRAGM and Pelvic floor

FPC's foundation of "Pump & Kegel" is the secret to a stronger, easier pregnancy.  It's a foundational body system that enables us to move and breathe the way nature intended.  We are all born as fully functional movers and breathers but stress, body consciousness, poor posture, desk jobs, lack of activity, etc continue to move us farther away from it.  I always say, once you re-program this system, you will NOT go back to being a dysfunctional mover again.  Our bodies WANT to move this way.  

That being said, just because it's "natural" doesn't mean it's easy.  I love the video that our friend, Lindsey Vestal, M.S. OTR/L from The Functional Pelvis shared this week.  It gives you a few more images to help understand what the diaphragm and pelvic floor are doing and how they work together to strengthen and support you. 

Check it out below!  

 
 

Save the Date!  

Lindsey will be presenting a Pelvic Floor workshop on April 18th as part of the Wednesday night series at FPC! Mark your calendar and stay tuned for the sign up details next week!  

The Importance of your Pelvic Floor

 
 

If you've taken class with us, you are familiar with the cue, "Pump & Kegel".  We remind you to fire this inner core unit constantly.  But why IS the pelvic floor so important? 

The muscles of your pelvic floor support your uterus, bladder and bowel.  They are important for sexual function AND work with the rest of the muscles of the core to stabilize and support the spine.  They also support the extra weight of the uterus and growing baby during pregnancy.  

Many of us don't realize that the pelvic floor, like our diaphragm, is part of our core.  Having a over active or under active pelvic floor negatively effects all the functions associated with breathing, digestion, eliminating toxins and moving through our every day lives.  It also helps neutralize intra-abdominal pressure, making us less susceptible to devleoping a Diastasis Recti (abdominal split).   Your pelvic floor should contract and release with every single diaphragmatic breath which is why we cue the contraction AND release in all our classes at FPC.

This function is so important, talk about it at the beginning of every class and we’ve also devoted an entire class to it.  Have you taken “Pump & Kegel” yet?  We offer it every Wednesday and Sunday at 9:30am. 

 
 

Debunking Myths Surrounding Prenatal Exercise #4

The Myth:

It's safe to hold planks during pregnancy. 

 
 

 

Why this myth exists

Women are often told by their care providers that it's safe to continue doing whatever workout they did before pregnancy.  For many women their pre-pregnancy workout included planks, pushups, planks holds, etc.  And if you aren't well versed in the topic of Diastasis Recti, it's not an exercise that you would necessarily think of as a contraindication so many women continue doing them without realizing the damaging they may be causing to their core. 

FPC's answer

Pregnancy and early postpartum is the time to train our bodies with the utmost attention to detail.  For us, that means fully integrating the inner core unit (aka Pump & Kegel) in EVERY single movement from the moment we find out we are pregnant...if not before!  

We perform what we call "moving planks" at FPC in order to fully integrate the inner core unit and protect the linea alba (the tendon connecting the two sides of our six-pack together), from any additional outward pressure or strain.  Holding a plank produces that outward pressure we are trying to avoid.  When it can no longer sustain the pressure, it can tear, causing what's called a diastasis recti.  

At FPC, we teach that you use your breath, with a properly engaged pump & kegel, to move in and out of your plank position.  This is the way to safely modify your planks during pregnancy and early postpartum.

 

* If you aren't able to maintain the core integration, if you feel outward pressure on the abdominal wall (pushing out) or if you ever see coning or doming through the abs, you should eliminate this exercise completely.  It's best to perform moving plank work under the watchful eye of a qualified trainer or specialist.  

 


Join us in our Pump & Kegel class on Wednesdays or Sundays at 9:30AM to make sure you are properly protecting your core during your workouts and every day movements from a potential diastasis recti.