Well into your second trimester, you may find it hard to incorporate abs. The good news is, you CAN still do abs, we just have to get creative. In fact, a strong core will help you in all those pushes you are anticipating during labor. A good pregnancy program will not simply ignore ab routines because you cannot perform sit-ups or planks anymore. Here are some fun cable exercises you can add into your routine.
Set the cable up with a regular handle and pulley at the bottom. Stand parallel with the pulley system. First bend your right arm with elbow pointing out and handle near your right shoulder. Squat down, maintaining balance and opening hips so knees are directly stacked over your ankles. As you stand back up, give a slight twist in your torso and extend your right arm straight across your body, reaching high above your left shoulder…kind of like a cheerleader cheering “RAH,” right?! Slowly lower back down into your squat, returning arm to the bent position. Finish all reps on right side before turning around and completing reps on the left side.
Cable Side Bends
Keep the same setup as above, regular handle with pulley in lowest position and body parallel to machine. Hold the handle down at your side and take a couple big steps away from the machine to allow full range of motion as you bend. When the handle is in your right hand, you are focusing on crunching your left obliques. Simply hinge left at your hips, trying not to sway your hips but rather consciously engaging your left obliques into a standing crunch-like position. It helps me to place my left hand on my left obliques to really feel the abs getting to work. Bend body to the right, back towards the machine to give those left obliques a rest and repeat all reps on left side before turning around and finishing up on the right side.
Cable Wood Choppers
Set pulley to a high position with a regular handle. Play around with feet position here. I like to stand with me right foot parallel to the machine, but my left foot stepped slightly back. Hold handle with both hands and arms extended straight. Start high above the right shoulder. Bend at the waist as you bring your arms across your torso and down towards the left knee. Keep those hips stable. You should be focusing on engaging your core as you “chop your axe” down, and as you return to the high overhead position, focus on controlling your core. Complete all reps on this side before turning to face the opposite way and working the other obliques.
Cable Ab Twists
Use the regular handle, and bring the pulley to abdominal level. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart to maintain balance and grip the handle with both hands. Start with your arms straight, gripping the handle directly in front of your torso. Give a slight twist in your torso, moving arms straight out towards right side. The arms are not “working” during this movement, but rather following the torso as your obliques control the movement. Return arms to mid position only, not doing an entire torso rotation towards the cable. Again, perform all reps on one side before moving to the next.