Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy Pregnant Hips: Exercise Guide to Strengthening Your Hips

I complained a few weeks ago abut how much pain I had in my hips. From what I read, this was because of the chemical relaxin, which is produced to help loosen your pelvic joints so a baby can come out, and this can cause misalignment and a lack of support. Some women experience paint connected with their sciatic nerve in their hip. Others may have really tight hip muscles. And, frankly, pregnancy is just not very comfortable. I'm not sure what my issue was, but I'm guess weak hip and pelvic muscles were not supporting the weight of my uterus well and I was misaligned.

And everything I read online gave few solutions: go to the chiropractor, take Tylenol, and (least commonly) incorporate hip strengthening and opening exercises into your routine.

Here are some articles and workouts that I found to be really helpful in strengthening my hips. I try to do at least one workout targeting my hips and backside per week, add on some barre-type moves after one pilates workout, and focus on opening my hips in one weekly yoga practice. In my usual strength workouts, I really have focused on proper alignment and form during the exercises. I also try not to arch my back when standing or walking, instead tucking my pelvis has helped ease the discomfort in my hips and low back that I was experiencing.

Free Bump and Beyond Booty Sculpting Workout from Erica Ziel at Knocked-Up Fitness

Follow the link, sign up for her newsletter, and Ziel send this workout video to your email. I love it and how it works my backside and hips. I do this once a week and will probably keep it up after baby boy arrives. The workout begins with squats and lunges, moves to some quadruped movements, splits between bridge work and (for moms-to-be) repeated quadruped moves, and then a side leg series. It is a good and short pilates workout for your rear end.

Pregnancy Exercises to Tone and Tighten Your Legs from Erica Ziel at Knocked-Up Fitness

 These barre-inspired moves will make your hips tired! I love that Ziel talks about doing the moves at the park while your kids play because sometimes you have to squeeze your workout in when you can! You could do it at the park using a bar or the back of a bench, or at home using a chair or counter. I do this once a week.

Yoga sequence for lower back pain from FitSugar at PopSugar

Pretty self explanatory, sometimes it is nice to know some poses to target a certain ailment!

Hip and Back Openers for Expectant Moms from FitSugar at PopSugar

Another collection of yoga poses to open those hips and relieve that tension!

Proper Posture during Pregnancy from Pregnancy Beat

Proper Posture during Pregnancy from Pregnancy Beat

Here is a diagram that accompanies the linked article. Basically, the way that we are inclined to stand as pregnant women is not good for us and can cause pain and alignment problems. Don't hunch over, don't arch your back and let your belly hang. It takes concentration, but taking the time to make this a habit will have long-range benefits.

I hope this has been helpful for those experiencing hip pain. I have felt so much better and feel like going out and enjoying the outdoors since incorporating these principles. As future mothers and as runners, it is important to have a strong and steady base. Exercising and releasing our hips will make us stronger athletes.

To learn more about hips as an essential part of a runner's core, see this article from Runners Connect.

For more about the link between hips and other running injuries, see this article, from Runner's World

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