Pilates and Pregnancy: No More Mr. Nice Carey

Hello and welcome back to our Pilates and Pregnancy blog. At six weeks postpartum I had another private lesson with Carey. I had been cleared by my doctor for exercise and Carey knew it! I titled this blog “No More Mr. Nice Carey” because all of the breaks and modifications she made for me while I was pregnant were gone! Instead, Carey fine-tuned my movements and gave me a real workout.

We started on the Cadillac. I noticed right away with exercises like roll down that I still had a long way to go in building back the abdominal strength I had lost.Cassie and Finn Rather than a slow, smooth, and controlled rolling back motion with my abs engaged, there was a point in rolling back where I couldn’t maintain the engagement and slid back quickly. We moved to Hundreds and Carey had me hold my legs at table top with my head down on the mat. Without realizing it, my knees drifted apart. When I was pregnant, it was impossible to hug my legs all the way together and so Carey let me keep them slightly apart. Not anymore! She cued me to hug my legs together and man could I feel it by the end of my Hundreds!

We used the push-through bar for Teaser and Shoulder Bridge next. On both exercises I noticed how different the moves felt from being pregnant but also from before pregnancy. One of the greatest benefits of Pilates is increased body awareness. I was aware of how my body changed during pregnancy but it’s even more clear now because I can compare my pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and postpartum bodies. Each version brought its own challenges and rewards. I am excited to use Pilates to achieve a strong and healthy postpartum body.

We ended our session with Monkey. Monkey is a traditional Cadillac exercise using the spring from below and a safety chain from above. You have to curl yourself into a tiny little ball and bring your feet and hands next to one another on the push-through bar. Traditionally, you would then push the bar up with your feet bringing your body into a “U” shape with your feet and hands at the tops of the “U”. Monkey can be challenging for a number of reasons. For me, it was especially challenging six weeks postpartum because I still had quite a bit of baby weight and wasn’t able to reach the bar with both hands. Instead of traditional Monkey, we did one-legged Monkey, which enabled me to hold the bar with both hands and one foot while the other leg stretched out toward the mat.

The stretches felt great and I was sore for a few days afterward. I can’t wait to see what Carey has in store for me next!


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