The little nugget of joy women carry around during pregnancy can have some not so joyful side effects, i.e. upper back and neck pain. yikes! Well to keep you strong and painless during your pregnancy Jill of Exhale PT designed this prenatal workout. These moves will be your new best friend that helps you combat pain during your pregnancy and after your sweet baby is born! Check out more of Jill’s prenatal exercises here!
What you will need: A wall, a medium resistance band and a Swiss ball. You can purchase a resistance band at any sporting goods store, Target, or Amazon.com.
Why do this exercise? During pregnancy and even after the baby arrives, many women develop upper back and neck pain. This pain is the result of an increase in the size of the breasts, weak upper back and postural muscles and poor posture associated with breast feeding. The ‘back on wall series’ of exercises are designed to help combat the added weight of the breasts and not only stretch the chest muscles but strengthen the upper back muscles to alleviated associated neck and upper back pain.
How often should you do this exercise? These exercises can be done 1-2 times per day. Repeat 2 sets of 10 of each exercise with a 30-60 second rest in between sets.
“Wall Angels”: Stand with your knees slightly bent and your back and head up against a wall. Try to keep your abdominals engaged as you take your arms out to a “goal post” position. The arms should be touching the wall as well. If you are unable to touch your arms to the wall, take them as far as you can comfortably out to the sides. Inhale as you slowly slide your arms up the wall as if you were making an imaginary snow angel on the wall. Exhale as you bring the arms back down to their starting position.
“Touch Down Arms”: Similar to the “wall angels”, stand with your knees slightly bent and your back and head up against a wall. Start with your arms down by your sides. Inhale as you raise your arms overhead as if you were a referee signaling a “touchdown”. Slowly lower the arms back down and repeat. Remember to keep your head and back touching the wall as you are moving your arms. It is a common mistake to allow the lower back to arch when the arms reach overhead.
“Band Pull”: Start in the same standing position as “wall angels” and “touch down arms”. Hold a resistance band in both hands with your palms up and hands/forearms about shoulder distance apart. Keep your upper and lower back connected to the wall as you gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the band apart. Try to keep your elbows connected to your sides as if you are holding a piece of paper between your side and your elbow. Slowly return to your starting position and repeat.
“Band Pull” can also be done while sitting on a ball for added core and postural work if desired.