4 Moves for Whole Body Strength

By Laura Mason

If you’re reading this magazine, I’m assuming you’re a parent and that you are probably stealing away time to do so. I’m guessing you probably also have a list as long as your arm of things still to do. Chances are, the hour-long workouts of our pre-baby days are a distant memory. However, there are short breaks through the day that we can take advantage of to move without having to get changed.

Why should we miss out on building strength even though we have bite-sized breaks? These four moves will give you an all-over workout in about 10 minutes. If you have more time, do more rounds. As you get stronger you can add in weights to keep the strength building.

Hi, I’m Laura from Unwind Pilates and I am all about making Pilates accessible to all women because it feels good to move and Pilates will increase your strength and improve your flexibility over time. It’s not a “quick fix – lose 10kg in 10 days” sort of movement. It’s more about building it into your life so it’s a constant companion as you move through all stages of the motherhood journey.

Today, I’m going to give you my top 4 moves to get you feeling strong in all the right places with or without kids. These four moves will work your upper back and shoulders, arms, abdominals, inner and outer thighs and your booty. If you can squeeze them in a few times a day, I guarantee you will gain strength and feel amazing too.

Pelvic curls

Why: Towards the end of pregnancy, spinal mobility is limited. It’s important to bring this mobility back into the spine once the baby is born. This exercise will help you to find where you are stiff and teach you to use your core and glutes together to open up your lower back.

How: Lying on your back, with feet hip-distance apart and arms pressing into the floor beside your thighs. Inhale to prepare, as you exhale, tilt your pelvis backwards and then lift your pelvis and spine, one vertebra at a time until you reach your shoulder blades. Inhale at the top and exhale as you lower your spine and pelvis back down. Ensure that at the top of the curl, your ribs and hips are still drawing towards one another.

Repeat x 10

Prone Thoracic Extension

Why: To strengthen your upper back even further whilst keeping your core engaged and lifted. A modification for pregnant women will be explained below.

How: Lying face down with your forehead resting down and your legs slightly wider than your pelvis. Turn the big toes towards one another and imagine you are lifting your inner thighs upwards. Press your pubic bone gently towards the floor and lift your navel away from the ground. Breathe out to prepare and when you inhale, draw your head, neck and chest away from the floor. Lift your arms and reach your fingertips towards your toes. Lower on the exhale and repeat.

If you are pregnant, sit right at the edge of a narrow chair and lean forwards rounding your back, hands hanging towards the floor and legs as wide as they need to be to fit the baby bump between them. As you inhale, direct the top of your cleavage to where the wall and ceiling meet and send your arms back behind you (imagine you are a mermaid at the front of a wooden ship).

Complete a few cat/cow movements at the end to mobilise the lumbar spine.

Repeat x 10

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