While not every woman wants to exercise during the third trimester, we're sharing some very easy moves pregnant women can do to strengthen and relax tight hips without any heavy energy exertion.
Single Leg Hip-Lift1 of 11
Lie down on the floor with your legs bent as shown and lift one foot off the floor. Lift your hips up in the air, concentrating on contracting your glute muscles (think about pushing through your heel). Make sure you keep the toes of the working leg up as shown.
Pause for a second or two and lower. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps per side.
Split Squat2 of 11
The traditional split squat is a great exercise to get started on hip mobility. To make it even better, concentrate on contracting your glute on the trailing leg to help stretch your hip flexor at the same time.
Try 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps per side.
Lateral Squat3 of 11
Stand with your feet approximately double shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight to one side and drop your hips down and back, keeping your knee over your toes and your weight over your bent leg. Pause for a 2-count, return to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
Aim for two or three sets of 8-12 reps per side.
Mini-Band Walk4 of 11
Place a mini band around your ankles and spread your feet about shoulder-width apart. Keeping your legs relatively straight (you want the motion to come from your hips) and toes pointing forward, walk forward 10 steps, then backward 10 steps.
Take a short break and then walk to the right 10 steps, then to the left 10 steps. Again, focus on keeping your legs straight and toes pointing forward.
Lateral X-Band Walk5 of 11
For this one, you'll need a large band or piece of tubing. Step on the band and spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Form an "X" in front of you with the band and stand up nice and tall with your shoulders down and back.
Keeping your toes pointing forward, take 10 steps to the right, pause and then return.
4-Way Cable Swing6 of 11
You'll need a cable column, a pole or a partner for this one.
Attach the cable to an ankle cuff and secure it around your ankle. With this exercise you're focusing on four movements--flexion, extension, abduction and adduction. Try and stand up straight while doing the exercise. If you have to lean excessively, reduce the weight. You'll find that not only are you working the muscles of the leg that's moving, but the muscles of your stance leg will work quite hard stabilizing and balancing, as well.
Try 10 reps each direction.
Lateral Lunge7 of 11
Take the lateral squat up a notch (if you're ready) and turn it into a lunge. Aim for two or three sets of 8-12 reps per side.
Step Up8 of 11
Using a slightly elevated surface--not too high--step up onto the surface and carefully back down.
Try two or three sets of 10 reps on each leg.
Hip Flexor Stretch9 of 11
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds on each side.
Butterfly Stretch10 of 11
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, using your elbows to push and stretch even further.