News about Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness
We stay up to date on the latest health news as it pertains to your pregnancy, your recovery and your overall wellness.
Bionic Mommy in Hermosa Beach helps moms get back in shape, with baby
- Genie Davis
Redondo Beach resident Danielle Spangler is one bionic woman.
She’s the founder of Bionic Mommy, a pre- and post-natal fitness regimen she’s been perfecting for two decades. After noticing a lack of suitable exercise programs for pregnant women and new moms who wanted to tote baby to class, Spangler fulfilled the need at the Bionic Body gym in Hermosa Beach.
Spangler has a strong background in kinesiology, which addresses the physiological, bio-mechanical and psychological elements of movement. She has a graduate degree in exercise physiology, with a thesis in pre-infant natal fitness.
“There was so little information in the 90s; it was a cutting edge area I was exploring,” Spangler said. “I was fascinated that pregnancy is one of the biggest things to happen to the human body and yet there is so little about exercise during pregnancy or post-partum.”
She has taught pre- and post-natal training at Sports Club LA on the Westside, as well as offering Mommy and Baby Aerobics at the Beach Cities Health District in Redondo Beach, and at Adventureplex in Manhattan Beach.
Spangler, a mother of three herself, also taught in the private sector, sometimes bringing her children to work. She enjoyed bonding with them while she exercised with them and it’s an experience she wanted to provide for other mothers.
She began her program at Bionic Body, which is owned by celebrity fitness pro Kim Lyons, last June.
“What I do is functional strength training, combining posture and passive core exercises,” she said. “It’s focused on core and pelvic floor reconditioning. I am not doing anything very extreme with the body that you might find in a typical exercise class; it is still high intensity but without the impact of jumping around or extreme abdominal exercises.”
In short, Spangler provides gentle concentrated abdominal work that helps lift the pelvic floor, an area in which many women experience problems after pregnancy.
“I work on posture because a lot of my clients come out of pregnancy with aches and pains, or they experience diastasis recti, which is the result of about 25 percent of all pregnancies.” This condition is a separation of two centimeters or more in the abdominal wall, which occurs from lack of exercise, too much intense exercise, or excessive weight gain during pregnancy, as well as from childbirth trauma.
Women during and after pregnancy also produce the hormone relaxin that makes joints more elastic but has the potential to cause injury during weight-bearing exercises or range of motion exercises. Spangler seeks to counteract that with what she terms “conservative but productive” joint exercises.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists just released their updated exercise recommendations in November 2015. ACOG has stated that all pregnant women should exercise, excluding severe medical complications, but have not provided exercise specifics.
New guidelines encourage exercise by pregnant women, new mothers
In Hermosa Beach at
Bionic Body pre- and postnatal expert Danielle Spangler teaches her Bionic Mommy class, which features barre exercises and body-weight workouts.
“We’re not lifting dumbbells in here, we’re not working with big machines you see in the gym,” Spangler said.
At this time in their lives, those are about the last thing the mothers-to-be need.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has set the guidelines for pregnant women and postpartum women in regards to exercise for the last 20-30 years,” stated Spangler.
But until recently, those experts hadn’t made any updates over the last 10 years. So a recent upgrade was extremely important.
“They recommended every woman who is pregnant exercise unless extreme medical pre-existing conditions,” Spangler said. “To alleviate sciatica, swelling, any kind of aches and pains back issues and definitely diastisus.”
Diastisus is when the abdominals stretch more than they should, resulting in dangers that lead to hernias and low-back pain. So how you move is very important.
If you’ve just had a baby you need to wait six weeks for your doctor’s clearance and Spangler says you’re going to want to wait at least three months before you start doing some serious exercise.
“Sometimes I see women coming in who are very fit prior to pregnancy. They’re very anxious to get their baby body back, and they start doing really extreme exercises: Cross fit, kickboxing, really dangerous. Crunches, anything extreme on the abdominal area. Even planking, squat thrusts, those are all big no-no’s,” she reminded.
Her program puts an emphasis on pelvic tilts and Kegel exercises and strength via body and exercise bands.
If you’re unfamiliar, check with trainers like Spangler who are certified to train this specific group.
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