Add More Standing Core-Based Exercises Into Your Pre/Postnatal Classes With These Top Tips

I’ve welcomed over 1,000 pregnant and postnatal women into my pre/postnatal fitness and Pilates classes.

When I did my Level 3 Pre/Postnatal certificate (like a hundred years ago!) there really wasn’t a lot of emphasis on the exercise element of the qualification.

Yes, there were exercises demonstrated and listed in the written manual for sure.

I vividly remember walking away with a grand total of 3 safe abdominal exercises for pregnant women…

…and, the postnatal section of my instructor booklet consisted of 3 x A4 pages which consistenly stated ‘no adaptations / same as for pregnancy’ (can you believe it?!).

One observation was, there was certainly a lot more emphasis on learning the theory, than perfecting the practical and performing (which is sort of important for your confidence if nothing else, huh?).

I can remember spending hours putting a lesson plan together that ‘ticked all the boxes’ so to speak to pass the assessment, but when it came to the real wide world of teaching pre/postnatal – I really didn’t have a lot to go on.Postnatal-34-300x225

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll have noticed that there’s been a shift towards ‘functional’ training over the past few years.

Nothing new there.

So today I’m going to give you the tools to enable you to freshen up your standing exercises safely and effectively for your pre/postnatal clients.




Right, so the first thing to do is write down a list of exercises you feel comfortable teaching to your chosen client group, whether it’s pregnant women or new mums.

NB – There are some movements I don’t instruct to pregnant women for whatever reason, and other exercises I shy away from in a postnatal-setting too.

But, it’s you who’s in control here.


Remember: just because someone, somewhere says ‘a pregnant or postnatal women can do this exercise’, or ‘this exercise is great for new mums’ doesn’t mean YOU have to teach it.

So, what have you come up with?

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Lateral lungesPrenatal-104
  • Wide to narrow squats
  • Reverse lunges
  • Knee lifts
  • Calf raises

There are tonnes more you can add in – I’ve just listed the bare bones there, so to speak.

How’s your list coming along?

Keep going – I’m sure you’re more creative than you initially thought!

blog post mid placement copy without free



Now, cast your mind back to your Level 2 / basic anatomy days here, even if it was a very long time ago, with a bit of prompting, I’m certain this stuf will come back to you…

There are 3 planes of movement:

  1. Sagital
  2. Frontal, and
  3. Transverse

Now, to freshen up standing work, you now need to come up with upper body movements using as many of the planes as possible.

Here are some straight off the top of my head:


  • Lateral raisesign up box
  • Retraction
  • Arm circles
  • Lateral raise
  • Rotation

Don’t worry if you need to do a bit of Googling to clarify any of the above movements – that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

Every day’s a school day, eh?

Keep writing…



Ok, so you’ve got your list of lower body exercises you feel comfortable teaching, you now also have a fresh new set of upper body movements to go with them.

Now, things start getting creative, because all you need to do now is play around with or without a resistance band for a few minutes and see which upper and lower body movements go well together.

What have you come up with?

Do you like the fact you can go down into a squat, then pop up and do retraction with the arms?

How about a forward lunge whilst rotating the torso holding a resistance band?

Did you discover double heel lifts goes nicely with double arm circles?

Yep! It’s really as simple as that.

Again, I need to reiterate the safety aspect of things here, particularly for your pregnant clientele.

So even if you’ve created a sweeeeet set of new movements and you’re totally excited about what you’ve come up with, it doesn’t mean every mum-to-be will be that thrilled about it…

…or they will be able to execute what it is you have planned, so teach things in stages.

Promise me you’re not going to do double heel lifts and arm circles without breaking it down to: a) single heel lifts, progressing to b) double heel lifts, then combining c) heel lifts + double arms out in front, to finally d) heel lifts + double arm circles.

Get me?

Layering things up and breaking things down is important not just for you, but it really helps your clients’ understanding and execution too, alrighty?

And, if clients want to stay at a particular level or exercise that’s their choice to do so.

One final tip here: if it’s practical, place a wall or chair next to your expectant mums for some of the standing exercises.

Nothing’s worse than seeing a prenatal client wobble – trust me on that one!

And, there you have it: my Top Tips For Getting Creative With Your Standing Work In Your Pre/Postnatal Classes.

Have fun!




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