We are celebrating Mom’s all month long in May, and that includes moms-to-be! In recent years, as the guidelines for exercise and pregnancy have changed from “rest as much as possible” to “stay active and continue to exercise,” barre has become the workout of choice for women while pregnant. The focused and controlled nature of The Bar Method workout along with the non-impact and isometric moves make it ideal for students with a baby-on-board.
The majority of classes at our 100+ studios across the country (and Canada) are suitable for all mixed levels, including prenatal students. The Bar Method is safe and effective. It will prepare you physically and mentally for labor and delivery. Not to mention, you can count on your strong barre-body to bounce back quicker and more toned than it was pre-baby.
Follow these tips to make the most of your barre workout while pregnant:
1. Consult with your physician
It’s always recommended to consult with your physician before working out when pregnant (even though it’s generally encouraged!). Typically, if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your doctor will tell you to remain active, as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions or contraindications.
2. Learn your modifications
The Bar Method was developed under the guidance of physical therapists to create a non-impact, safe, and effective workout for all ages, body types, and experience levels. We continue to consult with our team of physical therapists on a regular basis to edit and evolve the method as the needs and desires of our clients change. We suggest the following modifications for our prenatal students starting at 20 weeks.
- Stretches: The increase in certain hormones released during pregnancy makes you more flexible. Enjoy your newfound flexibility, but be mindful not to push yourself beyond a safe range of motion. We advise against taking the split option or performing twist stretches from your waist after 20 weeks. Your instructor will walk you through the best stretches for your level.
- Seat Exercises: Post 20-weeks your uterus becomes heavier and in some cases can put additional strain on your back. For this reason, we modify your position when working your glutes to keep your back on a diagonal or upright. This will allow you to maximize your effort on your glutes and minimize the discomfort for your back.
- Risers for back support: Pregnant students post 20 weeks do round back and abdominal work with three to four risers under their regular mat to tilt their pelvis slightly forward and support proper blood flow. The amount of risers a student needs will depend on the size of her belly. Without this important equipment, the heavier uterus could likely fall back toward the spine and puts additional pressure on the aorta and vena cava. This causes blood to pump down to the lower extremities and away from the brain and heart, causing a pregnant woman to become faint. Secondly, it can cause terrible calf and uterine cramping if the blood back ups in the lower extremities. Therefore, it’s very important to work with proper back positioning in these exercises.
- Abdominal Exercises: Abdominal exercises during pregnancy are not only safe, they are encouraged. Once your back is properly supported with risers, as stated above, there is no reason you can’t do The Bar method curls. We suggest keeping your feet down during all of your abdominal work to ensure your pelvis stays tilted in the proper position. Listen to your body and do as much as is comfortable for you. If the curls become too much, you can simply hold the position and focus on your breathing to strengthen your abdominal wall in preparation for labor.
3. Listen to your body
One of the best qualities of The Bar Method is it’s warm, supportive community. The studio environment is non-competitive and non-judgmental. Everyone is working together with the same goals: to be stronger, more flexible, and ultimately the best version of themselves. Listen to your body when you take class. Allow yourself to take the options when you’re feeling strong and don’t be afraid to pull back when you’re feeling weighed down. After all, you are working for two and you should be applauded for showing up and giving it your best. Regardless of whether you do all three sets of thigh without resetting or finish that second round of push-ups without stopping, you are inspiring those around you without even knowing it. Each day will be different and your body will communicate that to you!
4. Center your mind
Most Bar Method classes are one hour long, with the exception of our newest class format “Bar Express” which is 45 minutes. Take advantage of this time to practice your deep breathing and deep focus in class. You know once you have your baby, you won’t get this time back. Don’t let it go to waste…use this time in your barre class to disconnect for one hour so you can connect more deeply when your newborn arrives.
We would love to hear about how The Bar Method treated you during your pregnancy. Leave a comment to let us know!