Last week we spoke about clams and why they are great exercises for strengthening your buttock muscles and learning the best muscle contraction for the muscles around the hip. Sadly, these exercises aren't functional and we need to continue to use them but also bring in functional exercises that strengthen our legs. Lunges, sit to stand, deadlifts and squats. When we are standing, instead of squeezing our heels together to promote our buttock muscles working, we need to keep our centre of gravity backwards over our ankles and push down through the heels.
This applies to all standing hip exercises. In a squat we push our hips back as we bent our knees (sitting down to an imaginary chair) and then drive back up through the heels to lift ourselves back up. During sit to stand we first lean forward to put our centre of gravity over our ankles, and then drive down through the heels to lift ourselves off the chair. With lunges and deadlifts the lifting movement is the same. The sensation through your feet really helps develop strength and technique - that is why you'll notice that in all these photos neither Julia and I are wearing shoes. It's not for aesthetics - its for proprioception. This is not always possible in public or outdoor settings but one of the beauties of this program is that we can take our shoes off at home :)
If you haven't already noticed.... legs, legs, it's all about getting your legs fit and strong. The pictures below show some of the different leg strengthening exercises you'll learn in the pregnancy program. Sit to stand, swiss ball wall squat, free standing squat, dead lift and wide based lunge.
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds on each side with 15 seconds rest.
‘x’ indicates the number of sets x 1, x 2, x 3
Perform each stretch for 60 seconds or 30 seconds on each side if required.