Pregnancy – Jillian Michaels – The Biggest Loser!

Here I go…. yapping about this damn show again! But, as a Fitness professional and a mother, there is no way I will be quiet about this one!

Comments Jillian Michaels made in Women’s Health magazine that “she can’t handle doing that to her body” (pregnancy) has got my blood boiling! The Human body is such an amazing machine and for anyone who has had the joy of experiencing pregnancy & childbirth, should be very proud! I am writing this from my personal opinion but I’m sure countless other mothers will agree with me!

I ask …. can’t handle doing WHAT!? Pregnancy is an incredible transformation and the birthing experience is awesome! What a thing to experience! I have two young boys, ages 7 and 4! I would hate this comment to negatively change an individuals view on pregnancy or worry about what their body will go through. Will they lose the weight? Will an extra arm start growing! Seriously!!!!! I ask again…… can’t handle doing WHAT!?

Both of my pregnancies were great! Both similiar yet different in specific aspects but nothing crazy to write home about! The birthing experience ROCKED! This is when you look at the Human body in a whole new light! WOW! Plus, very empowering when you can dig in and deliver a baby… a human being! Wow cool is that! I believe child birth is life altering. It is an experience that changes views, emotions and values all for the better.

Fitness and health and pregnancy all go together! Do not be scared of what may happen or what you won’t be able to do. It may be natural to fear the unknown but staying active and strong before and during pregnancy will have you laughing afterwards that any fear entered your mind!

When it comes to fitness, my body was used to training and I only limited activities as my pregnancy progressed and when my body told me to do so! This would be no different for other active females! My post-pregnancy fitness level kicked ass over pre-pregnancy! It changed my body for the better. I was leaner post-pregnancy than before! It did my body good!

Ok…. so I have no boobs but who gives a crap! They only get in the way of training!

Weak butt – strong butt!

One of the main areas of the body that most individuals want to train is the Gluteus muscles!  The famous rear-end!  This muscle group plays a huge roll in everyday movement and injury prevention.  It can produce powerful force but usually falls asleep in this department in most people! 

Typical training programs deliver different exercises for training the gluteus muscles but usually neglect the functional ability of this muscle group.  A common approach is to use an isolated exercise usually in a lying down position but this neglects the true function of the gluteus muscles.  What happens once we stand up?  How this muscle operates in daily movement (walking) and sport performance should be addressed. 

The Glutes work hard to eccentrically decelerate the forces generated by gravity and ground reaction forces in different planes of motion.   Basically, this muscle group must control leg & hip movement (which influences the knee and ankle/foot) and be efficient at it!   The gluteus muscles also have a bracing effect within the hip and SI joint so weakness may lead to many ongoing problems.  Simple movements such as walking can become unbearable.  When the foot strikes the ground during walking, there is a chain reaction of force all the way up the body.  Powerful and strong Gluteus fibers ensure that we can tolerate this force. 

There are many prep exercises that are ground based that the majority may find necessary in their program especially if there is a weakness.  And there may be many issues that play a roll in weakness.  This article is meant to address the true function of the gluteus musculature and is not intended to ignore other issues or diagnose.  It is meant to show options for individuals looking for a level of progression.

For the healthy individual who has a strong core foundation and no history of injuries, the following exercise gives one example of incorporating a great gluteus exercise.  Proper instruction is crucial for success!  Do not perform if you are unclear of form or position.  The following shows a level 1 progression.

Lunge with forward reach

– This reach increases the loading of the glutes by forcefully decelerating the movement which gives more power to explode out of the lunge. Start with a non-weighted reach and increase by holding a light weight or medicine ball. 


Basic Plyometric notes

Many athletes/individuals follow intense training programs for their sport.   It’s common place for athletes to incorporate Plyometric training into their program to increase power.  Plyometric training contains a very fast loading phase prior to an explosive contraction.  Jumping higher for the rebound for a Basketball player or getting that first quick step on your opponent is an obvious goal.  Proper plyometric training may also help in ACL injury prevention.  This is very important especially for female youth who have a high incidence of ACL tears due to body mechanics & instability.  The problem lies when trainees do not have proper landing mechanics to absorb force.  No matter your level of training, it is imperative that you be evaluated by a professional so you fully understand proper mechanics and determine your level to begin. 

Here are some tips for a successful program:

–         Individuals should perform a mix between jumps, hops, bounds & skips.

–         Two feet and single leg work should be addressed.

–         Plyometric patterns should take you into anterior and lateral movements as sport/life movement takes you in many planes of direction.  Follow these movement patterns on different training days.

–         Good landing mechanics are quiet.  Failure to land quietly shows a lack of eccentric strength and that the exercise is too advanced.

–         Only jump over training tools where you can land quietly.

–         Learn to land!  Athletes should jump and land from the same position. 

–         If you are landing in a new spot from your take off, be sure to land stable & quiet without swaying, tilting before you take off into a new landing spot.

Do not shy away from Plyometric training!  We do these types of movements in everyday activity.  For success you must follow a properly progressed program and unfortunately most people entering into a Plyo program are starting at too advanced a level.  For fitness and sport success, you must follow the level of training for your goals and for your limitations as too much too soon can lead to overuse injuries.