Case Studies from my experience
- Hannah – PT and Pilates instructor
- Franzi – Nurse
- Athlete – Jana Pittman
- Melissa Grech – Active mum
- Carly Romano – Active mum
Research suggests that when training our core muscles we can gain strength, train harder, function better and avoid back pain.
Yes and Amen!
But how many people actually know how to train effectively and what muscles they are working?
Over my twenty years experience in training women, I have found that some are hypermobile (flexible beyond normal), and some are stiff and tight (unable to touch their toes or do a lower back stretch). These need to come into consideration because training is not a “one size fits all” approach.
Regardless of these, my case studies with women show that they have pelvis weaknesses that can lead to pain in the lower back.
Our sedentary lifestyle and sitting for too long causes muscles in the lower back, upper back and hips to become tight and weak. It sounds weird to have weak and tight muscles, because we associate tight with strong, but it’s actually the opposite.
The current fitness craze has gone overboard with innovation and motivation.
I applaud everyone who is powering on and reaching their health and fitness goals.
When it comes to pregnancy exercises however, the intensity, speed and choice of exercise needs to be modified – to be sometimes conservative and therapeutic.
But this does not mean boring and tedious.
Case Study 1 – Client – Melissa Grech – Active mum
Mel came to me when she was 6 weeks pregnant. She had previously trained with another personal trainer and was fit and healthy.
Her main goal was to exercise safely during pregnancy, focus on specifics e.g. pelvic floor, have a natural birth and avoid weight gain.
Case Study 2 – Client – Hannah – PT and Pilates instructor
Hannah is a personal friend, trainer, Pilates instructor and massage therapist.
Hannah and I would always discuss different training techniques and talk shop. When she fell pregnant, she came to me for the extras. Even though Hannah was a Pilates instructor, she confirmed that the course did not cover extensive anatomy training of the pelvic floor and core muscles. I worked with Hannah with my biofeedback tool to allow her to see her pelvic floor strength.
This was a great help to her, as she had a c-section due to her baby being breech. Her recovery was super fast and her OBGYN couldn’t believe how quickly she recovered.
Case Study 3 – Client – Jana Pittman – Athlete
Working with Jana has been an awesome experience. We are both on the same level with energy, mental drive, and hunger to learn more.
As an Olympic athlete she is one strong girl. Because of the high intensity training athletes do, there is always the need for maintenance. Pre-existing tight spots due to repetitive hurdles training tightened her hip flexors, external rotators and leading into tightening her lower back muscles.
And this is where I came in.
While her core strength is phenomenal, the hormone relaxin still has impact on joints and ligaments – no matter how strong an athlete is.
Therapeutic methods always work.
Obviously her hurdles training during pregnancy was non-existent.
I worked with Jana to make sure that her glutes were strong to maintain her pelvis strength. Manually releasing some tight spasms and massaging techniques that I have developed helped her continue with her training, so that she maintained strength during pregnancy and could get back to training soon after the birth of her babies.
Case Study 4 – Client – Franzi – Nurse
Franzi fell pregnant at 44 years young. As a nurse, Franzi knew the importance of being strong, fit and healthy throughout her pregnancy. She came to me to make sure that she did her exercises correctly and focused on strength, fitness and preparing for the birth. Franzi has hypermobile joints, meaning she was at higher risk of injury when the relaxin hormone is present during pregnancy. We needed to build stability of the joints through specific strength training exercises. Focusing on correct technique was key.
Case Study 5 – Client – Carly Romano – Active mum
Carly was newly-married and excited that she and her husband were expecting.
She came to me in her first trimester with sciatic nerve pain.
Initially we were only going to do a handful of sessions, however she felt great and pain free. Carly continued to train throughout her pregnancy up until a week before her baby was born. You will see Carly’s beautiful technique as she features in many of my video programs.
What I notice with all the ladies who come to me for training is that they have some muscle weaknesses, particularly in the pelvis area.
The hormone relaxin will start to loosen up ligaments and joints to prepare the body and pelvis for the birth.
This hormone is in its highest in the first trimester and then in the last few weeks of the third trimester.
My observation is that no matter if you are an athlete or a nurse, there are always certain imbalances that the body has carried.
Upper back strength is often non-existent, and if this is not addressed during pregnancy, feeding and nursing baby will cause more tension, along with back and neck weakness.
With almost all of them, the hips are weak, but also tight! This is predominantly caused by the glute medius, glute minimus and weak internal pelvic floor.
The trick is to know how to release them and strengthen them in a balanced and functional way.
The following are my findings:
- 80% of back pain is due to weak glute muscles.
- 95% of the ladies who I train do not know what their pelvic floor muscles look like and where they are located.
- 100% of women that I train (Pilates trained, yoga trained, Crossfit trained etc) do not contract their pelvic floor muscles correctly.
These are certainly missing links and indicate appropriate training is necessary during and after pregnancy. In fact, these muscles should be trained long before a woman falls pregnant.
My online programs provide all the necessary exercises to help you have strong core and body. I have specific exercises that target the midsection to help the mum feel strong and confident.
There are step-by-step videos and instructions on how to do each exercise.
This is why I published Pregnant, Fit and Fabulous book and online program – to educate mums, help them and also give them quality of life after the birth of their babies.
Join and subscribe today. You will not look back.
You too will feel Pregnant Fit and Fabulous.
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