Pregnancy Fit #3 -Hip Circles
As we come to our final exercise of the Pregnancy Fit series, it seems appropriate to end with hip circles. Hip circles are a classic pilates move to incorporate into any exercise regimen. You can practice them laying on your back, on your hands and knees or on an exercise ball, but whatever position you choose, hip circles just feel fantastic. Whether you are pregnant or simply in need of a mellow endorphin rush, hip circles naturally relieve lower back tension by massaging your SI joints (the two boney joints on either side of your lower back). Appropriately, for this third and final chapter of our Pregnancy Fit series, we will using hip circles to prepare the hips and pelvis for childbirth with a little help from our friend, the exercise ball. Some people may call it a stability ball, others a birthing ball... whatever you call it, this large inflatable ball will be your saving grace both before and while you bring a baby into this world. The circular motion of the hips naturally helps the baby move down into the pelvis and dilates the cervix. By familiarizing yourself with this movement during your pregnancy and especially your last trimester, your body will instinctually remember what to do while you are in the haze of labor. Not only do I teach them to my clients, I also used them during my labor. Whenever contractions felt unbearable, sitting on the exercise ball not only took the pressure off my sacrum, it also helped to distract me with the repetitive circular movements. Even now, after a long day on my feet, hip circles feel like a mini massage for my hips and lower back. Want a demo? Take a look below as our co-founder and mom-to-be, Cat, demonstrates how to the perfectly perform the hip circle on the exercise ball. https://youtu.be/sMlfYPJ3IlY
To ensure that your ball is the perfect height for you, sit on the ball making sure your knees are at a 90 degree angle from your hips and your feet are secure on the ground. You should feel comfortable and confident on the ball. If you feel unstable, opt for a smaller ball. Start by pushing your hips slightly to the right, which will naturally push the ball to the right, keeping your upper body still and feet flat on the floor. Then, in a circular motion push your hips, butt and ball toward the back of the room without moving the torso. Continue moving your hips and ball to the left. To finish the hip circle tuck your pelvis and move the ball forward. Nothing except your hips should be moving the entire time. Relax and let the ball naturally massage your pelvic floor. Breathe! Continue circling 5 times to the right and 5 times to the left.