By Sheena Jongeneel
I’ve been doing Pilates since I was 19 years old and teaching since I was 23. This year, I turned 39 and got pregnant for the first time. I can say I’ve always had a rock-hard body thanks to decades of devoted Pilates workouts. So, when I got pregnant and saw the pounds pile on, I was shocked, but I realized my body had to grow to accommodate the baby growing inside me. Yes, my adipose tissue (fat) was starting to multiply every day…and even though I knew this was natural and necessary for my pregnancy, I decided to put Pilates into practice to manage my prenatal body. So after years of having a “Pilates body,” I had to embrace the bump, let go of the scoop, and take on Pilates to accommodate my mama-to-be body.
The main focus was the back of the legs (hamstrings, glutes), arms and upper back. I did not work out the abdominals throughout my pregnancy. Diastasis is not something I wanted to experience, nor was a C-section, which ironically I ended up with…but that’s a story for another day (and how to get your abs back after a C-section!).
Here is the prenatal Pilates program I practiced throughout my pregnancy. These are also my favorite exercises to keep the cellulite at bay!
For the Tush
Tush with the Magic Circle
Sidekick Series is the best to do during pregnancy as you are lying on your side and the pressure is off the baby. I love it during pregnancy to keep the tush and inner thighs strong and lean.
Setup: Lie on your side with your legs slightly forward at a 45 degree angle. Place your legs inside the Circle with the Circle slightly above your knees and your knees bent. One hand supports your head, while the other can be placed behind your head as well or on the floor for leverage.
1. Press your upper leg up to work the tush and outer thigh. Do 6–10 reps.
2. Straighten your legs, and place the Circle between your ankles, keeping your legs forward at the 45 degree angle. Press your top leg down to work the inner thigh. Hold and release. Do 6–10 reps.
Tush with the Ball
Setup: Get on all fours with your knees bent under your hips and shoulders over your wrists. Place a ball behind one of your knees.
1. Squeeze the ball with your hamstring and lift your knee straight up toward the ceiling as you continue to squeeze the ball with your glutes. Do 6–10 reps.
2. Turn out your knee and continue to do leg raises with the ball, making sure to squeeze the ball to work the tush. Do 6–10 reps.
As your body starts to get ready to make milk for the baby, your lats and arms start developing more fat. I made sure to do this Magic Circle arm and weight workout every day to keep my arms slim and strong.
Magic Circle Arms
Setup: Stand with your heels together and toes apart. Place the Circle between your hands with your palms pressing into the pads.
1. With your arms low in front of your hips, hug the Circle, holding for 3 counts, then release. Do 6–8 reps.
2. Raise the Circle to the front of your chest and hug it, holding for 3 counts; release. Do 6–8 reps.
3. Finish by bringing the Circle overhead, arms slightly in front of the shoulders and hug the Circle, holding for 3 counts; release. Do 6–8 reps.
Magic Circle Arm on the Side
Setup: Place the Circle on the side of your leg below your hipbone, heel of your hand pressing into the pad.
1. Press the Circle in and hold for 3 counts, working the lat down your back; release. Do 6–8 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
Arm Weight Series
Setup: Stand with your heels together and toes apart, holding 2–3 pound weights in your hands.
1. With the palms of your hands facing up and your elbows hugging your rib cage, curl your arms up with resistance, and then resist them back down. Do 6–8 reps.
2. Lift your arms straight up in front of your shoulders, elbows in line with your shoulders, and curl the arms in for 6–10 reps.
3. Finish by taking your arms out to your sides in line with your shoulders and within the peripheral vision, and curl your arms with resistance for 6–10 reps.
Having a strong and fit tush, and toned arms, make for a happy healthy mama-to-be. Enjoy!