Image of the pelvic showing where the muscles connect to the bonesThere are a number of muscles that feed in and out of the pelvis.

Let me make a little list for you:

  • Hip flexors,
  • Quadriceps (front of your thighs),
  • Glutes (your bum),
  • Outer thighs,
  • Inner thighs,
  • Hamstrings (backs of your thighs).

Each and every one of these muscles needs a good bit of attention particularly if:

a) you’re pregnant and preparing for childbirth,

b) you’re postnatal and getting frequent pelvic/back pain,

c) you’re suffering with pelvic floor weakness, and/or

d) you’ve sat down a good part of your life.

When you exercise with me, at the end of your workout, or sometimes interspersed between exercises in my Bump to Babe, pregnancy Pilates or Mummies and Buggies classes, I add some release work in for you.

It’s not all about strength, strength, strength all the time.

And, this is sort of why traditional pelvic floor exercises don’t work.

I’m talking about those “squeeze and release” type exercises where you imagine you’re stopping the flow of urine, and repeat 15 times or whatever.

You need to be able to release your pelvic floor, before start adding load or strength work to it.

That general rule applies to most of the muscles in the human body if I’m honest if there’s dysfunction present.

If you released all of these areas of your body on a regular basis, I’d hazard a guess that you’d:

  1. get less back pain,
  2. suffer with fewer aches in your hips and pelvis,
  3. increase your pelvic floor strength and function,
  4. increase your chances of delivering your baby naturally,
  5. decrease the chances of you tearing during childbirth,
  6. decrease the severity of menstrual cramps,
  7. increase your chances of fertility,
  8. suffer less with leg cramps, restless legs and other circulatory conditions,
  9. improve your gait pattern, and
  10. therefore improve your pelvic floor function

There’s this misconception that pregnant and postnatal women can’t stretch.

Or, perhaps that they can stretch, but for only short periods of time.

Google’s a great tool granted –  but if you have a question relating to exercise that isn’t located on my blog, can I get you to ask me directly instead?

Because internet searching can also call up a tonne of misinformation and really old hat advice!

I update my skills on a regular basis, and there are exercises I would not have done 12+ years ago when I first qualified…

…only to now include them because we now realise in the pre/postnatal fitness industry, that’s it’s a little foolish to blacklist certain movements altogether when you’re likely to need to be able to do them after birth, caring for your newborn.

With a few tweaks in the way you use your body throughout the day, you’ll be rewarded with less back, pelvic and knee pain and fewer symptoms of pelvic floor weakness.

Hip tightness and back tension often refers into the pelvic floor, so if you have a pelvic floor issue – for full-body function, you need to sort out your pelvic mechanics, and get more mobility in your spine.

If you have pelvic floor dysfunction, take onboard all of these tips because the key to pelvic floor rehab and labour prep is actually getting your whole body working better for you.

If you’re pregnant or postnatal reading this right now and concerned you’re not doing enough exercise that is specifically designed to strengthen and release the right muscles to prepare you for childbirth, then, you’ll want to book on my pregnancy fitness classes in Lady Bay which are an education in itself.

My Bump to Babe pregnancy fitness classes on Mondays in Lady Bay provide cardio, toning, Pilates, stretching and tonnes of education about what happens to your body during pregnancy.

And, if you’ve recently had your baby, my indoor postnatal buggy classes known as Mummies and Buggies are held 11am Wednesdays in Lady Bay and provide you with cardio and toning that leaves very few muscles unturned!

Had you baby recently?

Are you short on time?

Want to increase your fitness level and burn off those excess calories?

Grab a chair and join me in this full-body, fat-burning workout!

Suitable for new mums who’ve had their Doctor’s check.

Are you ready?

Looking for something more, here are the best forms of exercise for new mums:

Join a mum and baby fitness class – Get fit, have fun, make new mummy friends and bring baby with you!

Get up and move – Sitting still for hours on end feeding etc will do your back no favours, so every 30 minutes, move about to stop your body seizing up.

If you don’t do something NOW to get back into shape after birth, it may be even longer before you’re your old self again. 

Even when you’re at your worst, I’m certain with a bit of willpower and a change in mindset, you can find 10 minutes in your day to exercise with these tips.

Want to learn more about postnatal exercise?

Check out my Postnatal Pilates Worksheets, Your Pelvic Matters Exercise Class if your pelvic floor isn’t as strong as it was pre-pregnancy, and/or my indoor buggy workout Mummies and Buggies fitness classes.

A question I’m often asked is:

“I’m getting this pain…here…at the back of my ribcage. Any ideas what’s causing it, Claire?”

Well, yes.

Yes, I do.

If you’re a regular attendee of my pregnancy fitness, antenatal Pilates or Mummies and Buggies classes, when you’re exercising, you’ll hear me say phrases like this a lot:

Image depicting rib thrust

  • Relax your ribs
  • Drop the ribs down
  • Stop holding the chest up
  • When your arms are lifted, the ribs shouldn’t be
  • Stop thrusting the ribs out in front of the pelvis

If you take a look at the photo here, you’ll see a nice picture of me in standing with my rib cage pitched out in front of me.

The human skeleton should be aligned so that the front of the ribs actually sits flush with the front of the pelvis.

Don’t believe me?

Check out the skeleton at your GP’s the next time you’re there and draw a line with your eyes down from the base of the ribs, to the floor, and you’ll see that it sits down in line with the pelvis.

From side view, your skeleton should be aligned:

  • Ear on shoulder
  • Shoulder on rib
  • Rib on pelvis
  • Pelvis on ankle

When you jut your ribcage out in front of you constantly, assuming it looks better aesthetically, you’re effectively closing the space at the back of your rib cage which:

  • Makes it harder to get oxygen into your lungs and breathe optimally,
  • Shears / puts a kink in your spinal chord, and
  • Can be a contributing factor to the cause and rehabilitation of abdominal separation

A parent, teacher or significant person in your life may have said these phrases to you at some point in your lifetime:

  • “Sit up straight!”
  • “Stop slouching!”
  • “Stand up taller!”

And, your brain has interpreted this as:

  • Rib thrusting

There’s only so much the spinal column will tolerate, particularly if you’re stationary in one position for a long time, with the ribs thrusted out in front of you…

…before it sends a signal to your brain to say:

  • “Please stop that – it hurts!”

So, if you’re experiencing pain right at the back of your rib cage and you want some tips on how to get rid of it, here goes:

  • Relax your ribs
  • Drop the ribs down
  • Stop holding the chest up
  • When your arms are lifted, the ribs shouldn’t be
  • Stop thrusting the ribs out in front of the pelvis

Now, can you tell that I just totally copied those bullet points from the start of this article, and pasted them here…?!

Because I did.

A lot of pain is caused by mis-alignment of the skeleton.

Here’s a recap on how your skeleton should be aligned:

  • Ear on shoulder
  • Shoulder on rib
  • Rib on pelvis
  • Pelvis on ankle

Ah ha!  ANOTHER copy and paste job, did you see?

So, the next time you’re experiencing pain, how about you go back to these basic alignment cues, and see what it is you’re doing that’s throwing your skeleton off.

Are you poking your chin/head out in front of you to stare intently at your phone right now, and then wondering why you have neck pain?

Are you sitting for long periods and experiencing unexplained “back of the rib cage” pain?

Do you hold your baby in standing a lot with your pelvic weight thrusted out over your toes, putting undue stress on your lower back?

Yeah, so these few examples I’ve listed actually throw the loads to your skeleton way off, so it’s best to learn HOW to sit and stand better, and practise good alignment, little and often…

…and I guarantee, you’ll experience less pain as a result.

If you’re pregnant or postnatal reading this right now and you can’t get to the bottom of why you’re experiencing pain in certain areas of your body, then book on my next pregnancy Pilates class.

Concerned you’re not doing enough exercise that is specifically designed to strengthen and release the right muscles to prepare you for childbirth, then, you’ll want to book on my pregnancy fitness classes in Lady Bay which are an education in itself.

And, if want to learn how to hold, carry and care for baby without experiencing so much discomfort, my indoor postnatal buggy classes known as Mummies and Buggies are held 11am Wednesdays in Lady Bay and provide you with cardio and toning that leaves very few muscles unturned!

Ever feel really tight and tense in certain areas of your body after a long day at work?

This video tells you the importance of stretching during pregnancy.

Some muscles tighten, others weaken in comparison.

By stretching the right muscles here, as often as you can, you’ll feel loser around the shoulders, hips and lower back, which all pregnant women feel tension in.

These exercises are suitable at any stage of pregnancy, so give them a try and let me know how you get on!

If you’re looking for a pregnancy exercise or antenatal Pilates class in Nottingham, and want to meet other mums-to-be, then you’ve come to the right place!

Bump to Babe Fitness and Pilates classes are every busy pregnant woman’s answer to staying fit, active and healthy throughout their pregnancy.

Come along and exercise at any stage of your pregnancy and give your unborn baby the BEST start in life.

Today, I thought I’d share answers to the 5 top frequently asked questions I’m often asked about the pelvic floor, so here goes:

1. SHOULD I PERFORM “SQUEEZE AND RELEASE” EXERCISES TO MY PELVIC FLOOR?

Pregnant woman sat down to excerciseYes and no.

It depends if you’re pregnant, postnatal and/or have issues in your pelvic floor muscles right now.

I’m not a big advocate for “squeezing and releasing” and/or “drawing up and holding” pelvic floor type movements, hence the reason I don’t teach them in my classes.

That’s not to say there’s not a place for them for some people, and certainly if you have zero signal or control over your bladder/bowel, then it’s at this point you’d be well advised to perform them (under the guidance of a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or similar).

In a lot of instances of where clients come to see me with sneeze wee, or that feeling of urgency to use the toilet at time throughout the day, it’s often a case of the pelvic floor being too tight.

So, what the pelvic floor needs is a good stretch out, the hamstrings need length, and the butt needs be strengthened.

Read More

Have you had your baby recently?

This video walks you through 3 must-do exercises all new mums should be doing on a regular basis.

Caring for a newborn baby takes its toll on the upper and lower body, and, energy levels pending, exercise can really help reduce those aches and pains.

Covering upper and lower body exercise ideas, all you need is a resistance band, and off you go.

Give your shoulders, upper back, thighs, backside and core a workout now!

 

Want to learn more about postnatal exercise?

Check out Postnatal Pilates Worksheets which you can download and get started on straight away.

If your pelvic floor isn’t as strong as it was pre-pregnancy Your Pelvic Matters Exercise Class is your first port of call.

And/or the infamous indoor buggy workout Mummies and Buggies fitness classes where babies come too!

Your upper body takes a pounding as a new mum, and one of the things I don’t skimp on in my pregnancy fitness, pregnancy Pilates and Mummies and Buggies classes is shoulder and arm strength work.

Today, I’m going to share my top tips on preparing your arms for the real-life workout they’re going to get as a mum:

PRACTISE USING YOUR “BABE IN ARMS” MUSCLES

THE number one thing to do now, particularly if you’re pregnant and you’re reading this in preparation for motherhood, is to start carrying things in your arms – now!

If you realise that you ALWAYS carry objects like your gym bag, handbag, purse etc over your shoulder, or in your hands down by your sides, you are NOT working your upper body that effectively.

Do you travel a lot for work and trundle a suitcase behind you from venue to venue? Or, have you had your baby and you transport your baby around in their buggy?

Yep, well as soon as you add the word “convenience” IN to the equation (that’s the wheels on your suitcase/buggy there), you’re taking OUT natural body movement and muscle use.

Strengthening your biceps is easy – you just need to practise carrying more things using your arm muscles.

And, let’s face it – holding objects with your arms is pretty much mimicking the very action your body and baby is going to ask of you, isn’t it?

It actually seems so simple until someone points it out to you, huh?

Read More

Expecting a baby and want to prepare your body for labour, motherhood and beyond?

Here are 3 easy exercises that are essential for every pregnant women to perform, at any stage of pregnancy.

Grab a resistance band for this workout, set your timer for 45 seconds work, and 15 seconds rest.

Get the heart pumping, tone muscles with weaken and stretch muscles which need releasing.

If you’re pregnant and want to learn more about how to align yourself, keep aches and pains at bay and decrease your symptoms of back and pelvic pain, click here to book your space on my next Pregnancy Pilates course in West Bridgford, Tuesdays at 6:15pm.

If you’re pregnant and want flexible attendance – never fear – my Bump to Babe pregnancy fitness classes allow you to start whenever you’re ready, and flexibility to switch classes if you need to.

Suitable for any stage in pregnancy, and a heck of a lot of fun – my pregnancy fitness classes offer you cardio, toning, Pilates, pelvic floor, stretching and relaxation, and if you miss a week here or there – it doesn’t matter.

Bump to Babe pregnancy fitness classes are held on Mondays at 6pm in Lady Bay.

If you’ve had your baby recently and want to know how to adapt movements and care for your newborn baby, check out my Mummies and Buggies (indoor) postnatal buggy classes.

And, at ClaireMockridge.com, you’ll also find Your Pelvic Matters: a labour-preparation, pelvic pain and pelvic floor rehab class suitable for women at any stage of pregnancy, and past their 6-week postnatal check.

Going on a long car or train journey here sometime soon to visit family and friends over the festive season?

Do you suffer with back and hip pain from sitting down, stationary for such a long time?

Ok, I have some great tips and stretches for you to do at the services or whenever your scheduled break is.

Try them out, and let me know how you get on!

Pilates is a brilliant form of exercise which helps you improve your posture, tone and strengthen your abdominals and back, increase flexibility, challenge your balance and coordination, release tension and help you de-stress after a hard day. What other session offers you all of this in an hour?

Find out more about my beginners or improvers Pilates classes in Nottingham here.

Are you pregnant? Bump to Babe Fitness and Pregnancy Pilates classes are every busy pregnant woman’s answer to staying fit, active and healthy throughout their pregnancy.

You can come along and exercise at any stage of your pregnancy, right up to full term, and the best bit is – you’ll be giving your unborn baby the BEST start in life.

Been performing traditional pelvic floor exercises with little to no results?

Check out Your Pelvic Matters pelvic floor exercise class for a full-body approach to pelvic floor rehab to help you get the muscles that support the pelvic floor working better.

Have you had your baby recently and feeling like your posture is getting worse?

Get your posture back on track, tone muscles which have weakened during pregnancy, and burn some fat in the process.

Here’s a circuit-style workout suitable for new mums to do which include 3 functional exercises that will not only help with the functional day-to-day tasks of being a new mum, but will get you back into shape, fast!

 

Want to learn more about safe postnatal exercise?

Check out my Postnatal Pilates Worksheets you can perform in the comfort of your own home, or book on my Mummies and Buggies fitness classes in Nottingham on a Wednesday at 11am.

And, if you’ve been performing traditional pelvic floor exercises with little to no results, check out Your Pelvic Matters pelvic floor exercise class for a full-body approach to pelvic floor rehab to help you get the muscles that support the pelvic floor working better.


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