With hundreds of pregnancy back strengthening and workout programs out there, how do you know which one will be the most effective for your pregnancy? Which one will really provide you with the strengthening that you need during this physically challenging time of your life? The answer is simple – it should be one that is designed around eye movement.
Ok, so that’s probably not quite the answer you were expecting right? You’re sitting there thinking . . . what in the world do my eyes have to do with my back strength or fitness and health during pregnancy? Stick with me and I will explain.
The problem with traditional pregnancy back strengthening exercises
1. They only focus on the large muscle groups
Conventional core back exercises only address the large muscle groups of your back. These include some of the most commonly known muscles like the traps, lats, abs, etc. While strengthening these large muscle groups may seem like a good idea, it isn’t enough. Rather than strengthening the deep muscles of your back, conventional back exercises only help your superficial muscle groups.
Think of it like an apple. On the outside you have a beautiful, crisp, red apple. It looks perfect. However, when you go to pick it up, it is anything but. Inside, the apple is soft and disappointing. This is what happens to your body if you only strengthen the large muscle groups of your back. On the outside you might look great, but inside, your important deep muscles (your TrueCoreTM muscles) are weak and unstable.
2. Therapists and physical trainers are not taught the “whole story”
Therapists and physical trainers are taught about all of the muscles of the body. However, they lack training on the relationship between neurology, vision and the deepest layers of core muscles in your body. While this might seem insignificant, it isn’t. The connection between neurology and physiology is an incredible thing and a paramount tool in understanding how to properly strengthen the body.
Eye movement as the key to back strengthening success
Now that you better understand what is wrong with traditional back exercise programs, let’s learn why a pregnancy workout program based on eye movement is so important.
How your eye movement impacts your muscle development
As I’d mentioned above, when you move your eyes, you activate your TrueCore muscles.
These TrueCore muscles are those deep back muscles that connect one vertebra to another in the spine. They connect and form a tapestry of deep muscles that control the function and stability of roughly 75 vertebral segments in the back and every other core muscle you need to move and function properly. These TrueCore muscles are then activated by nerve pathways within the brain – which is where your eyes come into play.
Let’s start from the beginning. When you look in a certain direction, your body will follow. We know this from studies of auto accidents where an out of control driver who looks at the trees will, in all likelihood, hit the trees when they go off the road. Instead, if the driver had been looking at the space between the trees, they would have been more likely to miss the trees when they went off the road. The same concept applies to skiing through the trees – your body will follow the path of your eyes.
This concept is also reflected in studies on how eye movement activates your muscles. Even before you start moving, your eyes will move in the direction you want your body to go. Once your eyes begin moving, your body will follow by activating the appropriate muscles in your neck, spine, shoulders and arms.
In a nutshell, when you move your eyes, you activate your TrueCore muscles.
The fixated gaze
Unfortunately, because of changes in our society and our move towards a more sedentary life, most people are at risk of loosing this intimate connection between their eye movement and related muscle activation. It is all a result of the “fixated gaze.” Rather than using our eyes to look around us and direct our movements, we are staring at objects such as our phones, iPads, watching TV, and at other stationary objects. A fixated gaze can also occur when someone is suffering chronic stress, fear or threats to their physical or emotional well-being. Basically, it’s a form of tunnel vision and it is slowly damaging our bodies.
As you develop the fixated gaze habit, you gradually lose your ability to activate your deepest back muscles. Statistically you are losing your back muscle strength at the rate of 1% per year after the age of 24. If you are 30 years old, you are likely to be 6-10% weaker in the back than you were at 24, and if you are 40 years old, you are about 20% weaker.
It is no mistake that we have progressive back pain as we age, and loss of our TrueCore muscle strength is the primary reason!
Eye movement during pregnancy
Regardless of your age, if you’re pregnant, the combination of hormonal changes and relaxin lead to more pull and stress on your back muscles. In turn, this pull and stress often leads to the all to common back pain and muscle spasms that you hear about during pregnancy.
But the problems don’t stop there. Without strong back muscles, you are likely to experience pain and discomfort throughout the rest of your body – places that you might not even think of as coming from your back. Weak back muscles can also lead to pregnancy pain in your neck, arms, legs, hips, etc. This weakness can often manifest itself in all sorts of other pregnancy issues such as headaches, restless leg, lack of energy, stiffness, swelling, diminished balance, sleep problems, hip pain, and more.
So back to our initial question, how do you choose the right pregnancy back and body strengthening program?
It’s simple – you make sure that the program has been designed around the concept of eye movement.
This again brings me back to the uniqueness of the 5MinuteBack Pregnancy Program. Unlike any other pregnancy workout program on the market, it has been built around the very idea of eye movement and its activation of your TrueCore muscles. Because of this, it is designed to help you improve, restore and advance your TrueCore muscles throughout your pregnancy. Not only that, but because it helps you stay strong, both inside and out, during your pregnancy, it will help you recover quicker after giving birth so that you can get your pre-pregnancy body back faster.
My 5MinuteBack Pregnancy Challenge Update
Over the last two weeks I have really started to feel my weight shift as the baby grows. It’s interesting to feel my body compensate for the growth and recognize the challenge that pregnancy puts on my back and neck muscles. Even though this extra strain is apparent; I have noticed that my body is feeling much better adjusting to this strain than it did during my last pregnancy. I can only assume it is because of my dedication to completing my 5MinuteBack Pregnancy routine every day (ok, almost every day).
According to the Bump, I could be experiencing trouble sleeping, swelling, headaches, high blood pressure, pregnancy brain, and Braxton Hicks contractions this week. I am definitely getting those wonderful Braxton Hicks contractions on a regular basis, but I know that this is a good sign that my body is preparing for labor and delivery. As for the swelling, headaches, and high blood pressure, I can happily say that I am not experiencing any of them. I have had a bit of trouble sleeping and some pregnancy brain, but it is almost nonexistent compared to what I dealt with during my first pregnancy. On a scale of 1-10, they are probably only a 2.