Right. Let’s talk about THIRD TRIMESTER SQUATTING. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know how much I loooooooooove THE SQUAT. And THE DEADLIFT. Annnnnd THE LUNGE. All the movements you find in every day life. I detailed exactly how these movements completely transformed my body... not only in the way it looked.. but most importantly, in the way it performed. I was pain-free and moving like a machine and I can’t sing their praises highly enough.
And then I fell pregnant and the rules of the game shifted slightly. Because although I could absolutely safely continue doing what I was doing (for a portion of time....) as I progress in my pregnancy (I’m currently 32.5 weeks so well into my 3rd trimester) my goals have changed. The reasons I strength train this far into my pregnancy have changed. Don’t get me wrong, I can still squat deep. But just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. For me now, it’s NOT about strength or muscle gains... its NOT about intensity or power. It's about staying ACTIVE, MOBILE and SAFE. It’s about moving my body in a way that feels good for me whilst always maintaining PERFECT TECHNIQUE.
FORM IS EVERYTHING at this stage as your whole body composition has changed. Your centre of gravity has shifted and your internal organs are not where they once were. It’s a whole new ballgame so to speak... which means making a few adjustments... just like I have in the video.
- WIDER STANCE.
I’ve taken a slightly wider stance than normal to accomodate my bump. If you can still keep spreading the floor with your feet and pushing your knees out as you squat then a wider stance might be more comfortable. I’ve also put a booty band around my thighs (just above my knees) to help keep my knees pushing outwards and my glutes activated.
- BARE FEET.
Yes I am aware that some of you think I’m bonkers for training in bare feet but believe me there is a method to my madness. I usually squat wearing weightlifting shoes which gives me a nice heel elevation on a hard surface. That allows me to attain the depth I want whilst being able to keep my chest upright. At present I have another human hanging off my front so my centre of gravity has shifted and I’m naturally now being pulled forward. The last thing I want is to be tipping forward any more... so I opt for bare feet. This allows me to drive through my heels without falling forwards and I can keep my chest more upright. If you don’t want to train in bare feet then a hard-soled flat shoe works too. Think Converse Chuck Taylors.
- SQUAT TO A BOX.
As I mentioned above, for me now it’s about mobility and technique. I still want to work my posterior chain muscles but don’t want to put any undue pressure on my pelvic floor. So as a rule of thumb, we squat to a box during our third trimester which is about to parallel thigh or just above. Squats and deadlifts (whilst primarily for posterior chain) also work the muscles of the core and at this stage I don’t want to be creating any heavy intra-abdominal pressure. So we keep the depth conservative.
- LOAD & REPS.
Again this isn’t about strength OR intensity. Err on the side of caution with your weight load. Keep it on the lighter side and reduce your rep rate. You want to maintain perfect technique throughout. Treat every rep as a single rep and prep for each one accordingly.
Probably THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Pay close attention to your breath and for god’s sake don’t hold it!! It is vitally important to keep the oxygen flowing throughout each movement. Inhale to lower into the squat and exhale to push up through it. Use the breath to facilitate the movement and keep breathing!!
And after all is said and done remember... it’s not a competition. Your one job during this time is to protect and nurture that little life growing inside of you. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you. Every day will be different and accepting that is the first step. I just went 3 weeks without seeing the inside of a gym coz I didn’t feel like it and today I felt like training and that is A-OK with me. I move my body and my baby every single day in so many different ways... whether it’s Yoga or Pilates or a big long walk and all of it feels amazing!!