5 Best Pregnancy Xtend Barre Exercises
Say goodbye to extreme sports and hello to surprisingly effective (and gentle) pregnancy exercises. Here, Barre teacher Chloe Dallimore shares the 5 best pregnancy Xtend Barre exercises step-by-step
By Chloe Dallimore
Eastern Beaches Xtend Barre / March 04 2019
Working out when pregnant can be challenging because whilst you want to keep your body strong and prepared for birth, you also have to let nature take its course as the hormone relaxin starts to help your musculoskeletal structure release, stretch and adjust for your growing bub.
Dr Jill Gamberg says, “Barre is a great form of exercise for pregnant women because it helps develop core strength, coordination and balance, and is even a great cardiovascular workout. You have low-impact options in the classes, which are appropriate for pregnant and post-natal women (after their doctor clearance). Women who are in their best shape during pregnancy will most likely have an easier birth and recovery period. Most importantly it is so much fun!”
These are some of our favourite exercises for our pre-natal mums, that lift the heart rate safely, whilst toning arms, tush and triceps!
Plié Curtsy Cardio
This exercise is designed to lift the heart-rate and increase blood flow, warming up the body.
- Start with the legs wider than the hips, rock back onto your heels and rotate from the top of the hips so you are in natural rotation through the legs. This is called second position. Arms open to the side.
- Bend both knees to plié in second position.
- Take the left leg behind the right leg to curtsy, keeping both legs bent, and weight equally between the legs. Arms lift in a rounded position to frame the face.
- Open the left leg back out to second position, open the arms back out to the side.
- Repeat to the other side using the right leg.
- Keep alternating from side to side for 32 repetitions.
Arms in Stretch Band
This exercise can be done with or without a stretch band, and can be done standing in parallel with knees softened, or for more support in later stages of pregnancy, sitting on a fitball.
- Place the stretch band around the arms, just above the wrists. You could also grab a couple of light weights (or bottles of water/tins if you’re at home)
- Reach arms directly out in front and resist slightly into the band. Try to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. Repeat for 16 repetitions.
- Bend the arms into a 90 degree angle and then extend back out to the start position. Repeat for 16 repetitions.
- Hold the arms in the 90 degree position, elbows beneath wrists and pulse outwards into the band for 16 repetitions.
Tricep Dips on floor
- Sit on your bottom with your hands behind you, just wider than your hips, fingertips pointing towards your bottom. Place feet either on floor, or for more of a challenge, place a roller or playground ball underneath the arches of your feet. Arms will be slightly softened.
- Bend from the elbows to deepen the bend in the arms. Straighten through the arms to the starting position. Repeat for 16 repetitions.
- For more of a challenge, lift the tailbone off the floor and continue the tricep dips.
- After 16 repetitions, hold the position in mid-range and pulse down through the arms for 8 repetitions. This can be done with the bottom on the floor or lifted, depending on how much of a challenge you want.
Pliés in 1st Position at the barre
If you don’t have access to a barre, a kitchen bench or the back of a dining chair also works really well!
This exercise is great for quads, glutes and inner thighs!
- Face the barre with your hands on the barre and feet in parallel. Rock back on the heels into a natural rotation to create 1st position of the feet (natural V).
- Lift the heels off the floor into relevé and join your heel bones together.
- Keeping the heels lifted and connected, bend the knees to plié to a 7/10 challenge through the lower body. Keep the upper body lifted…this is not a squat…think more of the body sliding inside a toaster and you bend the knees.
- Repeat for 16 repetitions.
- Hold the plié in mid-range. Pulse down an inch and up an inch for 16 repetitions.
- The whole sequence can then be repeated.
Foldover at the barre or on the floor
This exercise to fantastic for strengthening and toning the glutes (tush), as well as all the muscles that help stabilize the pelvis, which is hugely important during pregnancy.
In the first 20 weeks of pregnancy you can do this exercise at the barre. After 20 weeks, it should be done kneeling on the floor to provide more support.
- Stand a comfortable distance from the barre, feet together, legs in parallel, knees bent. Create a genie-arm position with the arms (forearms one on top of the other, elbows bent), hinge from the top of the thighs and place your forearms on the barre. Toes should be under your belly-button and heels under your sitting-bones.
- Reach your right leg long behind you, with toe touching the floor. Lift the leg to challenge without changing anything in the pelvis…you shouldn’t feel any discomfort or tightness into your lower back.
- Lower the leg back to the start position. Repeat for 8 repetitions.
- After 8 repetitions, hold the leg lifted at challenge height and pulse the leg up and down an inch for 8 repetitions.
- Lower the leg carefully and repeat on the left leg.