Barre has become my go-to workout especially since finding out I am pregnant. There are so many benefits from barre including:
- Improving posture
- Increase flexibility
- Targets several muscle groups
- Helps muscles work correctly
- Has low risk of injury
In addition to taking a ton of barre classes, I have swapped many of the Zumba classes I teach for barre and I have really enjoyed teaching these class more.
Suzanne Bowen is one of the first instructors that opened my eyes to the benefits of barre and how it can really be beneficial to a regular workout routine. I decided to interview Suzanne to get her feedback on her pre-natal barre program and how it can help with maintaining a fit pregnancy. Continue reading my interview below to learn more about Suzanne and her workouts!
NMF: How can Barre workouts help your body during pregnancy and after?
Suzanne Bowen (SB): I love Barre workouts for all women, but especially for the prenatal mama! They offer a great, challenging, and low-impact workout that is kind to the changing body. There is one caveat though. I do not recommend any of the tucking methods for pre or postnatal women. It is so important to maintain the natural curves of the spine, especially in the third trimester.
NMF: What is one of your most effective moves that someone can do when faced with a time crunch?
SB: I really love to do a form focused Wide Second Position Plie with focused breath work (inhaling on the down phase as rib cage (diaphragm), belly, and pelvic floor expand then exhaling on the way up where the rib cage closes, belly pulls in, and pelvic floor lifts). This will work your lower body (glutes, quads, inner thighs) AND it will lift and tone the pelvic floor and abs in the best way for birthing and bouncing back. The deal is, though, that you need to maintain a neutral spine throughout this movement. So as you breathe, don't let the back and hips tuck under or change. You might need to lean forward a bit more like a squat.
Once you get the hang of that, add some arm work to this move and you get lower, upper, and core in a safe exercise!
NMF: Do you have any suggested moves that will open up the hip flexors and help during the birthing process?
SB: I believe that sometimes hip flexors and quads can be tight and out of balance because of weakness in the back body (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back) and from excessive sitting. So while I like to stretch the front side of the body, I think it's important to do work on the posterior chain.
A Supported Lunge could be an amazing exercise to target a release of the front side and activation of the often overlooked back side. Stand on profile next to something extremely stable like a countertop (or kitchen sink where you can use your hand to really "hold on"). Step inside leg forward and outside leg back. Keep upper body stacked. Bend both knees.
***If you feel the need to jut your upper body forward, you need this balance in front and back.
In this low part of the lunge, feel the stretch in hip flexors of the outside leg.
Holding on strongly so you don't lose your balance, stand up and bring your back leg forward. As you stand, engage or fire the hips of the inside leg.
Do this slow and controlled for 10 times using your breath. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.
Repeat other side.
***One more thing to point out about birthing is posture. Sitting in recliners (which feels so good!!!) and slouching in a "curl" or "c-curve" could result in tighter hip flexors, diastasis, and PFD. Posture is SO important. Which makes exercise (correct exercise) so important.
To grab Suzanne's DVD click here!