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Prenatal barre at Barre Body Studio

BlairMariePhotographyforOilGrain-BarreBody07 Barre Body Studio Instructor - Mackenzie Photo: Blaire Marie Photography

You’re pregnant - Congratulations!!!  Barre is a great way to stay in shape during pregnancy as well as the perfect exercise to prepare for a successful delivery and postpartum recovery.

Common questions that we receive at Barre Body Studio are - where do I start and how do I modify to keep both baby and me safe yet strong?  Read on for a few tips from our resident barre star instructors and then join us at an upcoming prenatal workshop to learn more about modifications that you can apply in every Barre Body Studio class.

Many changes take place during pregnancy. The lumbar curve tends to become more exaggerated, the abs become more stretched and offer less support for the spine, and the shoulders and upper back often carry pain due to increases in chest size.  Increases in body weight will also have an effect on joints such as hips and knees during weight barring exercises and breathing can become shallower as there is less room for expansion of the diaphragm leading to quicker fatigue.  Even though you are feeling slightly (or considerably) uncomfortable you are smart enough to know that movement will help you stay calm, release tension and keep you feeling refreshed.

Here are the three reasons we are pulsing our way through prenatal.

Staying Strong - It is important to avoid most high-impact and high-intensity workouts while pregnant however maintaining your strength is one of the most important things to think about during the next nine months. Maintaining or building strength in your glute muscles is one of the best things you can do to help your changing body. As your posture changes and your weight shifts forward, strong glutes will help reduce instability and pain through your hips. Strong glutes will also assist in strengthening and gaining control of your pelvic floor. Barre incorporates many back-body strengthening exercises, perfect for all of you moms-to-be. Each plie, squat and pulse is helping you build the tone through your glutes and pelvic muscles, helping you stay strong all nine-months long. The second important muscle group to consider focusing on during pregnancy is your arms. The low weight, high repetition work we do in class is the perfect form of exercise to build and maintain lean biceps, triceps and shoulder muscles, which will come in handy once you’ve got a little one in tow.

Build Your Stamina - Those endless pulses and challenging cardio blasts are the perfect practice in building a strong mind-body connection. Working through the discomfort of that fourth set strengthens your ability to relax and breath in moments of difficulty. As your pregnancy progresses, there will be moments where this skill will absolutely come in handy and will help you overcome discomfort.

Safety is Key - Each barre class is structured to offer low impact options for each and every exercise performed. Thanks to this approach, all barre classes are safe to participate in throughout pregnancy once you’ve received the all clear from your doctor. Simply modifications will allow to you continue to participate in such a fun group class while supporting you and your changing body. While pregnant you may experience all, none or some of these symptoms/situations that we have discussed. Speaking to your healthcare practitioner is recommended if you are feeling discomfort of any kind. Everyone is different and each pregnancy is unique. It is important to exercise within your own limits, take breaks, stay hydrated and work at a slower pace during pregnancy. Now is the time to embrace change and experience a different type of self-care.

Mackenzie (photo above) – Barre Body Studio Instructor and Mom-to-be shares a few of her prenatal pointers.

I have been focusing primarily on exercises that only gently work my transverse abdominals and am now practically pain free! Avoiding plank was a big learning lesson for me. Instead I opt for side plank which helps to reduce any added abdominal pressure on the core muscles and therefore I avoid contributing to rectus diastasis.

The second interesting thing I learned was to avoid tucking my pelvis during 1st/2nd type exercises. I’ve learned that it increases the inter-abdominal pressure and neutral spine is a better choice during pregnancy. Putting this advice into practice has proven to be an effective modification for me during pregnancy.

(To hear more from Mackenzie, check out her interview with Oil & Grain. She talks about her prenatal barre experiences and dishes on her fav pregger wardrobe styles.)

Marlo (photo below) - Barre Body Studio creator, instructor and mother of three suggests the following:

One of the best pieces of advice that I received during my first pregnancy was to pull back, not push myself, and enjoy a gentle approach to fitness. The most important modification for me was to slow down during the cardio segment in classes. Remove any pressure to keep up with the group. Just making it to the studio and being involved in fitness is the utmost important at this stage – there are many years ahead to keep up with the pack. While doing cardio apply the talk test – if you cannot comfortably talk during cardio you need to pull back.

During my second & third trimester I focused on working slower and lower in all segments of class. Applying a “slower and lower” motto to my classes kept me feeling great throughout. The focus and concentration that is required in order to move with body control will help you immensely both inside and outside of the delivery room.

Marlo-preggo-1080x720 Barre Body Studio Instructor - Marlo Photo: Jenelle McKinney

Prenatal Barre Workshop Oct 24th from 12:30 to 2pm Barre Body Ramsay – Calgary

  • Spend 60mins learning modifications that can be applied to all BBS classes

  • Enjoy a fun 30-minute workout where you will apply all the essential exercises for a healthy pregnancy.

  • Q&A with Vanessa