Whether its buns of steel, a Beyoncè booty or just a pain free pregnancy you desire, this post is one of three posts devoted to showing you simple exercises to strengthen your buttock muscles.
Pelvic instability is a very common cause of pregnancy related hip, pelvic and lower back pain. Your buttock muscles are the main power house that hold your pelvic joints. If you have very strong buttock muscles, your risk of developing pain related to pelvic instability can be significantly reduced.
Becoming unstable through the joints in your body, due to the release of the hormone Relaxin, is part of the preparation for birth your body goes through, particularly in the third trimester. Your ligaments, which are there to support and stabilise your joints by holding your bones together, get more supple. This allows your pelvic bones to separate slightly and widen the birth canal for baby to wriggle out. It's no wonder why this is when a lot of women really suffer with pelvic, hip and back pain due to increased weight being carried around on a less stable frame.
One common condition related to this instability is symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). I touched on it in an earlier post titled 'squeeze your balls', where I took you through a great prevention exercise. Together both exercises can help create balance and stability around your pelvic girdle.
With your ligaments not doing their job 100%, you rely more heavily on your muscles to help support and stabilise your joints. Building strength in your springy muscles is a great way to combat some of the negative aspects of becoming less stable during pregnancy, reducing your risk of developing unnecessary pelvis pain while gaining a great bottom! Win, Win.
Here is how it's done:
Start: Tie your band loosely around your knees. Then lay on your back on the floor or on your bed. Place your feet hip width apart and pointing straight forwards. Make sure your knees are just beginning to take up the slack in your band and remain in line with your hips.
Pelvic tilt gently, this is the foundation of your exercise. (To learn the how and why to pelvic tilting check out the blog post ‘Don’t Wet Yourself Laughing’).
Action: While maintaining a strong pelvic tilt, push your knees apart into the band. Make sure your knees do not push past hip width apart, if they do, you need to tie your band tighter.
Hold outward push this for 3 slow seconds (1 elephant… 2 elephant… etc.). Then slowly release your legs, keeping your pelvic tilt going strong only relax this between sets. This is one repetition.
Begin your next repetition straight away.
Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. Have 2 minutes rest between each set.
If you struggle for any reason to lay on your back, try this exercise while sitting upright in a chair.
The exact same rules apply:
Push your knees hip with apart into your band...
Hold for 3 seconds then slowly release your legs but keep your pelvic tilt active, and your torso upright, no slouching...
Total of 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions...
2 minute rest between sets... and start all over again for 2 more sets.
You will feel the ache in your buttock muscles quite intensely. If you notice other types of pain, do not continue performing the exercise as it may not be suitable for you and discuss this with your pregnancy chiropractor/osteopath/manual therapist.
... 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.
Check out the next couple of posts for more exercises for creating stability around your pelvis while working on your booty.