Standing Swing Series
These exercises are generally safe for pregnancy, but always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
A squat is one of the most simple and beneficial movements for any body, but especially the pregnant body. Squats strengthen the legs, abdominals and back. Importantly, they also stretch and strengthen the pelvic floor. When executing this movement, let the connective tissue (fascia) of your pelvic floor and hips open even more by hanging into the deep sit for a few extra moments.
After you’ve become stable in the two-legged squat, try the single-legged, figure four squat. This squat is especially valuable for the pregnant body. The gluteal rotators of the deep hip can be very tight in pregnancy, and this movement provides an amazing stretch. Again, remaining in the sit will offer the fascia of these muscles more time to open into the stretch.
In the figure four squat, the standing leg is working very hard. Make this exercise more stable for the standing leg by including the muscles of the inner thigh and glutes. You can encourage these muscles to engage by pressing firmly into all four corners of the foot. Add pressure to the big toe, little toe and both sides of the heel, as you straighten the leg.
The side stretch will help open a tight ribcage. If this is a new position for your body, pull the swing further away from the support poles. Then, as you become more flexible, you can start closer to the poles for more bend. Just like in the deep squat, it’s beneficial if you can remain in the bend a few seconds. Add a full inhale. The filling lungs will push the ribcage into an even deeper opening.
Once you feel fairly flexible, try to rotate the ribcage toward the ground while both arms will continue to reach for the horizon. This twisted side bend effectively stretches the low back, namely the quadratus lumburum muscle (QL). The QL can be especially tight while carrying a baby because it shortens to help support the extra front load of the pregnant body. Stretching this muscle provides an immense amount of relief in all bodies.
A strong grip is necessary in these exercises. If your hands are lacking strength, wear weight lifting gloves, or wrap a hand towel around the swing’s chain. Your hands, like everything else, will get stronger.
Enjoy this series often to help support the needs of the growing, pregnant body. And if you are not pregnant, enjoy this series to help support the movement needs that exist in every human body.