Planks are a type of yoga pose that exercises the core muscles, specifically targeting the abdominals. Resistance training, such as the plank pose, is not only a safe way to stay in shape during pregnancy, but also can help reduce the aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Helene Byrne, an ACE-certified trainer with a specialty in pregnancy and fitness, says that the plank position is one of the best core exercises to use when pregnant because it keeps you spine in a neutral position.
Proper technique is the key to keeping working out safely during pregnancy. Suzanne Scholesberg, author of “The Active Woman’s Pregnancy Log,” stresses the importance of not arching your back during the plank pose. Your body must maintain a straight line. Keep your hands directly below your shoulders, and hold each pose for up to two breaths.
Planks are considered compound exercises because they work multiple muscle groups at the same time. You’ll target your abdominals, obliques, lower back, arms and leg muscles. Strengthening these muscles can help to relieve back pain associated with pregnancy. Resistance exercises also can help to regulate your blood pressure, although increased blood pressure is normal during pregnancy.
Exercising your muscles, while keeping your spine in a neutral position, has its benefits. It strengthens your deep core muscles while improving your posture. The plank posture also is completely safe for the baby since no pressure is being applied to your belly. Lying flat on your back can be uncomfortable, so the plank is a safe and effective alternative to situps and crunches. Exercise also helps to boost your mood and relieve the stressors common to pregnancy.
It’s best to consult your doctor regarding exercise during pregnancy. PregnancyWeekly states that after 20 weeks, it might be tough to hold a strong plank pose. If you are not able to use proper technique, you can speak to your doctor about alternative side-lying or standing exercises. Exercising to the point of nausea, dizziness or trouble breathing is a signal that you’re overdoing it. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms during a workout.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.