Another great buttock activation exercise, but this time a little different as you are not only switching on the buttock muscles, you are also creating movement.
Did you know you have three muscles that make up your buttock muscles: Gluteus minimus, Gluteus medius and Gluteus maximus. They sound like burley gladiators right? But they are just the name of your bottom muscles promise. Commonly referred to as your 'glutes'.
As I mentioned in the previous post, these gluteal muscles are paramount in producing stability around your pelvic girdle during pregnancy and beyond. You will be grateful you got to work training them early as you progress through pregnancy and your joints become more supple with the release of the hormone Relaxin.
Research shows 20% of pregnant women experience severe and debilitating pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. that's 1 in 5. Performing regular buttock exercises, can really help to reduce your risk of becoming that unlucky '1' later in your pregnancy.
Lets get straight to it…
Start: Lay on your side with your knees bent. Make sure your shoulders, hips, and ankle are in a straight line. Pelvic tilt gently throughout each set of 8 repetitions, this is the foundation of your exercise.
To learn how and why to pelvic tilt check out the blog post ‘Don’t Wet Yourself Laughing’.
Action: Keeping your ankles together, raise your top knee up slowly to create a space between your knees. Slowly raise your leg for the count of 3 slow seconds (1 elephant… 2 elephant… etc.), then slowly lower again for 3 slow seconds.
Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on the same leg then swap sides. Rest for 2 minutes after your second leg.
You should aim for a total of 3 sets of 8-10 receptions on each leg.
A slightly harder variation can be done by lifting your top leg while fully extended.
The exact same rules apply: Maintain a straight spine... slowly lift for 3 seconds... slowly lower for 3 seconds... aim for a total of 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg.
You will feel the ache in your glutes quite intensely, this is normal. If you notice other types of pain, do not continue with the exercise and discuss this with your pregnancy chiropractor/manual therapist.
... this with the aDductor ball squeeze for optimal balance between the muscles around your hips and pelvis. The post titled 'Squeeze Your Balls' takes you through this exercise.