• Kendra

Reformer Move of the Week #1 | Spinal Balance + & Pregnancy Considerations

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Half of my time spent browsing Instagram is looking at hashtags for pilates. This method of exercise is ever changing, variations never ending and the creativity spreads like wildfire with simple hashtags! I stumbled across some spinal balance variations and had to try some myself!

In fact, I LITERALLY had to try them MYSELF because my clients haven't returned.

I wan't to say, with completely certainty, this studio is cleaner than a WHISTLE! Each week, these beds get a deep clean twice, by me, and cleaned after every class (that was normal before), but now we are using ProKure and allowing time between classes for the beds to sit with antibacterial solution. We have also moved our portable machine (the 5th machine in the room) to storage, allowing for mandated social distancing. All member temps are checked at the front door as well. So, come play pilates with me!

This weeks move is a variation of spinal balance. I combined the balance with a straight arm pull and a tricep kickback. As I was playing, I realized adding some additional leg circles and pulling circles made it even more challenging!

Pregnancy & Pilates

Pilates has been one of my go to exercise methods when I've had those epic pregnancy days. Like yoga, I can control my effort, keep it light and limit impact to my joints. The only thing that stinks about prenatal reformer is having to making adjustments in the first parts of class for supine arms in straps and the hundred. There are a few options, like using the jump board to create an incline over the shoulder blocks, or getting a wedge (for some reason hard to find last few years). We can also simply just not lift our heads, stay flat and just keep pumping! Mainly, thoracic flexion (crunching from upper back), causes a high amount of intra abdominal pressure that can cause a diastases recti (DR). I've talked about this in many blogs but here is a pic below. Some women simply have tighter muscles in the midsection and will have a DR regardless of exercise or movements, just from growing baby and expanding. Some women will do full pilates to term and not tear at all. I simply give options from 2nd trimester on to avoid thoracic flexion as a caution. Personally, I tore both pregnancies (first baby at 18 weeks this one at 12- definitely think muscle memory for baby 2). Ironically, I didn't even tear from exercise as I was super careful, I did it hurling myself out of bed. After the first delivery, I was able to completely heal my DR and saw my connected 6 pack literally in the 2 months before becoming pregnant again. We'll see what happens 16 months from now!

Anyways, be careful with some pilates exercises. Avoid thoracic flexion, as well as deep twisting, elephant (head below heart/blood pressure changes) and some jumping also creates too much pressure. Oh, note some women can't lay on their backs. I've only had 2 clients in that boat, but the low blood pressure can cause dizziness and we don't want anyone running out to puke from pilates...Definitely note that. I almost puked in savasana today for the same reason. I had to laugh a little. Unfortunately, in that case if the wedge or jump board aren't available, classes are not the best option. One-on-one sessions with a pre and post natal specialist though, golden!

Let me know if you try it!

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