Exercise during pregnancy and postpartum: rowing edition

Exercise during pregnancy is good for you! That being said, we definitely need to start scaling some things as you get into the later stages of your pregnancy.


What about a diastasis?

One thing that has gained a lot of attention recently is diastasis recti. This is a separation of the ab muscles that happens during pregnancy to make room for your growing little babe. Diastasis recti is a VERY normal part of pregnancy. That being said, we can modify some of our exercises so it doesn’t place stress on your core that is already a bit stressed because it is being stretched by your growing baby.

So how does this affect rowing?

When you are rowing, you think that you push with the legs, lean back slightly and pull the oar into the base of the ribs. This creates a lot of power from the legs and lets you have a smooth stride to optimize your speed. That lean back at the end of the rowing pull creates a bit of tension on the front of your core. Because of that we will want to modify your range of motion as you get into the second trimester and definitely during the third.


How do we do that?

Let’s think about the pull on the rower as having your back leaning between 10 and 2 on a clock. The scale would be simply to stop at 12. By doing that you are staying more upright and preventing that lean. You can have a partner check as well. You do that by propping up your shirt and looking for that coning or doming that is indicative of diastasis recti. If this happens once or twice during your workout, don’t sweat it! That is just telling you that you are creating more pressure in that moment than your body is able to handle. Use it as a cue. Don’t be afraid of creating tons of damage. You aren’t. We are just trying to set you up for a strong postpartum recovery with the variables that are within our control.


One last thing. You will notice that because you aren’t leaning back as far that you will see a decrease in your speed. That is totally okay. Don’t worry – check the ego sometimes (I know it can be really hard!).


You got this mama!


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Christina Prevett