This is my first client and she is slightly overweight, She has not been exercising too much and is mow wanting to start.
I am just curious about the safety of reverse crunches, planks, and what alternatives you would suggest for general core work…
Also, what about exercising in the supine position during the second trimester?
Of course you have to clear exercise with her physician first. It is a little trickier with her since she has not been exercising, but for the most part you can train pregnant women similarly to a regular client with several caveats. Exercise is as tolerated, you do not want to push too hard, especially for someone who has not been active. Officially the supine position is not recommended starting with the second trimester, but some physicians are willing to allow it “as tolerated”. The thinking is that the woman will feel symptoms (nausea or light headedness) before any harm can come to the baby. But to go strictly by the guidelines, keep her off her back. Planks are generally ok, unless she shows early signs of a diastasis, but I would avoid reverse and regular crunches. You can do many standing core exercises such as wood-chops with balls and bands and warding type exercises to target the core. Hydration is critical, have her take frequent water breaks, and avoid over stretching; (the ligaments get looser during pregnancy). Keep it enjoyable. Emphasize that she will recover faster if she stays active now.
You will learn a lot about being a personal trainer quickly on your first client. Yes, you must obtain physician’s clearance, first and foremost. Ask if there any specific positions and exercises that are not be used. It is still early in the pregnancy, but I always request recommendations and contraindications from their OB/GYN.
And I start all of my clients out with learning how to activate the abs/glutes/spinal muscles as their intro to core and stability. These will be helpful to all your clients. You can do some exercise searching here and on your cert. organization website. Or if you don’t find what you are looking for, contact me through my profile.
On top the great feedback you got already, put out a great article,”Functional Fitness for Pregnancy”. Take a look at the link below.
If she’s just starting out with you, there’s a form that you can have her sign for permission for her doctor to release information about limitations/recommendations she may have (PAR Med-X, similar to PAR-Q but for pregnant women). As long as she feels ok, she can more or less perform most exercises that you can modify as needed. There’s been mixed reviews on the supine position as the baby could put added pressure and restrict blood flow, but having them at an incline is usually tolerable, but listen to your client for what’s comfortable to her for body positioning.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have guidelines for fitness while pregnant: http://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq119.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20150306T10…
To help lessen the chance of her developing diastasis recti, there’s exercises that you could have her do to strengthen her transverse abdominals and pelvic muscles.
I’m 14 weeks pregnant and a trainer and so far, the only adjustments I’ve had to make for myself are walking a bit more when I feel tired on a run and having to open my knees up a bit when doing crunches or hamstring curls on my TRX to work around my growing belly.