The Ultimate Third Trimester Core Workout

Be sure to modify your core workout while pregnant using prenatal fitness expert Lara Marq's tips

Fitness has always been an integral part of my life. I have to admit my original goals for hitting the gym were pretty typical; weight loss and toning.  But my years of hard work in the gym are certainly paying off during my pregnancy. I have to give credit to my strong core muscles. After 15 weeks of pregnancy, most women will have to make some changes to their core routine. These include:

  • Avoid lying completely flat on your back while completing core exercises. Place a pillow to prop your head and shoulders above your heart. 
  • Avoid quick twisting motions in your core.
  • Avoid abdominal crunches. Stick to lower abdominal and plank exercises

Although these changes may limit the variety of core exercises you can perform that does not mean you should skip your core altogether. I have put together the ultimate core workout that will be safe for your second and third trimester. Perform each exercise for 30-seconds and repeat three times.

Plank Hold

No brainer, huh? The plank hold strengthens your transversus abdominals, which holds your baby nice and snug to your body as well as strengthens your back. You can modify your plank hold by coming down to a plank from your knees.

Want a Challenge? Try twisting your hips side to side at a slow pace to engage your oblique.

Bird Dog Prone

Begin on all fours, knees hip-width apart and under the hips, hands flat and shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your abs by pulling belly toward spine. Keep the spine neutral, without arching the back or rotating the hips, and extend your right leg back and your left arm straight ahead. Hold for the recommended time and then repeat on the other side.

Want a Challenge? After holding for a number of seconds, pull your elevated knee in to meet your elbow and then extend out again.

Modified Side Plank

Lie on your side and bend your knees 90 degrees. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut.

Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your knees. Breathe deeply for the duration of the exercise. Repeat on other side.

Want a Challenge: Raise the leg on top until it is hovering straight over the ground. You may even feel strong enough to pulse the upper leg.

Modified Pre-Natal Bicycle Crunch (toe touch)

A crunch sounds intimidating during pregnancy but not to fear you are not actually crunching during this exercise. Lay back on the floor with a pillow underneath you propping your head and shoulders off the floor. Rest your elbows and forearms down against the floor for added support. Engage your lower abdominals and raise your knees and feet to a 90-degree tabletop position. One at a time, lower your feet down to tap the ground then return it back to a tabletop position. Repeat on the other side.

Want a Challenge? Instead of tapping your toe down to the ground, extend the leg out straight without touching the ground and then return to tabletop. Ensure to keep yourself propped up on your elbows for added back support.

 Fitness has always been an integral part of my life. I have to admit my original goals for hitting the gym were pretty typical; weight loss and toning.  But my years of hard work in the gym are certainly paying off during my pregnancy. I have to give credit to my strong core muscles. After 15 weeks of pregnancy, most women will have to make some changes to their core routine. These include:

  • Avoid lying completely flat on your back while completing core exercises. Place a pillow to prop your head and shoulders above your heart. 
  • Avoid quick twisting motions in your core.
  • Avoid abdominal crunches. Stick to lower abdominal and plank exercises

Although these changes may limit the variety of core exercises you can perform that does not mean you should skip your core altogether. I have put together the ultimate core workout that will be safe for your second and third trimester. Perform each exercise for 30-seconds and repeat three times.

Plank Hold

No brainer, huh? The plank hold strengthens your transversus abdominals, which holds your baby nice and snug to your body as well as strengthens your back. You can modify your plank hold by coming down to a plank from your knees.

Want a Challenge? Try twisting your hips side to side at a slow pace to engage your oblique.

Bird Dog Prone

Begin on all fours, knees hip-width apart and under the hips, hands flat and shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your abs by pulling belly toward spine. Keep the spine neutral, without arching the back or rotating the hips, and extend your right leg back and your left arm straight ahead. Hold for the recommended time and then repeat on the other side.

Want a Challenge? After holding for a number of seconds, pull your elevated knee in to meet your elbow and then extend out again.

Modified Side Plank

Lie on your side and bend your knees 90 degrees. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut.

Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your knees. Breathe deeply for the duration of the exercise. Repeat on other side.

Want a Challenge: Raise the leg on top until it is hovering straight over the ground. You may even feel strong enough to pulse the upper leg.

Modified Pre-Natal Bicycle Crunch (toe touch)

A crunch sounds intimidating during pregnancy but not to fear you are not actually crunching during this exercise. Lay back on the floor with a pillow underneath you propping your head and shoulders off the floor. Rest your elbows and forearms down against the floor for added support. Engage your lower abdominals and raise your knees and feet to a 90-degree tabletop position. One at a time, lower your feet down to tap the ground then return it back to a tabletop position. Repeat on the other side.

Want a Challenge? Instead of tapping your toe down to the ground, extend the leg out straight without touching the ground and then return to tabletop. Ensure to keep yourself propped up on your elbows for added back support.

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