Phew, it’s been ca-ray-zy busy around here lately. The studio is extremely full right now (oh hey, New Years resolution crew), and I’m doing my best to get my own workouts in these days at 30 weeks pregnant. That said, I didn’t mean to miss last week’s favorites post (sleep is a priority right now), but I’m back to share a new workout with you today!
It only took me thirty weeks to share a pre-natal workout on the blog, but it’s finally happened. Good news to the non-preggo friends reading this too, this workout is perfect for pregnant women in any trimester as well as anyone who isn’t expecting.
For convenience sake, I complete the majority of my workouts at the studio (I currently manage an Orangetheory Fitness in Brooklyn), but I finally got around to creating my own total body strength workout yesterday and it was a good one.
I can’t believe it had been so long since I pieced my own workout template together. Gosh, I miss that feeling so much!
There is still a lot that I’d like to cover in the pre-natal fitness category in this space, but for now, I’ll leave it with this workout that includes exercise breakdowns below. This post does not include professional photos (hey, I’m doing good to snap a selfie or two), but I hope that you get the gist and get a great strength workout in!
As always, I don’t encourage anyone to try anything new without a doctor’s consent.
Mommies-to-be: please listen to your bodies and only do what feels good to you! I would recommend grabbing lighter weights than normal when you’re expecting, and allow yourself to take as many breaks as you need to go at a pace that works for you. If anything feels uncomfortable, stop and move on to the next exercise.
• good mornings
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your hands behind your head with your elbows wide. Keep your core tight and back neutral while pressing your butt backward, keeping a slight bend to your knees. Hinge at the hips until your back is close to parallel to the floor.
Return to your standing position while squeezing your glutes. This is one rep. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
• bird dogs
This is one of my favorite bodyweight exercises to work the abs, lower back, booty, and thighs and is a definite go-to for those expecting. I also love that it forces you to work on balance and stability by using opposite sides of the body.
Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Knees should be about hip width apart. With a tight core, extend your left arm straight front and your right leg straight back. Aim to get both limbs completely straight, hold for about five seconds and then switch sides.
Repeat while alternating for 10-12 reps per side, or stay on one side at a time for 10-12 reps before switching to the other side.
• modified side plank raises
Start by lying on your side and stack your feet on top of each other with your knees bent. Position your elbow directly under your shoulder. Straighten your top leg and flex your foot. Lift your hips and torso off of the ground while keeping the abs and glutes tight. Place your hand on your hip.
Holding a side elbow plank, lift your top leg off of the floor and begin to lower and lift your hips in a pulsing motion for 10-12 reps. Rest, then complete on the other side.
• incline chest presses
(While you want to avoid lying flat on your back after the first trimester, inclined movements on the bench or even on a stability ball are okay! If you don’t have access to a bench or ball, you can turn to a good ‘ol modified push-up from the knees.)
Start by lying back on an inclined bench with a dumbbell in each hand, resting on top of your thighs. (The palms of your hands will be facing each other.) Using your thighs to help push the dumbbells up, lift the weights up, shoulder width apart. (Don’t go too heavy here – no need to strain that belly!) Rotate your wrists forward so your palms are facing forward and away from you. This is your starting position.
Push the dumbbells up with your chest, pause at the top for a second, then slowly lower the weight back to your starting position. Repeat for 10-12 reps. When finished, place the dumbbells on your thighs and then onto the floor.
• alternating shoulder raises
Start standing with your feet hip width apart, holding a light dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your body. Slowly raise your hands up toward the ceiling. Keep your palms facing down, your elbows straight, and just go high enough to get your arms parallel to the floor (shoulder height).
Slowly bring your hands back down towards your body and repeat the same motion to the front, raising your hands right in front of you and in line with your shoulders. Lower back to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for 10-12!
(I used a TRX strap for rows since I had access to one. I love the TRX for added bodyweight resistance, especially while pregnant. If you don’t have one near you, grab a set of medium dumbbells instead.)
Start with your feet hip width apart, holding dumbbells in front of you and sit back in your hips. Bend over at a 45 degree angle and make sure to keep your back neutral or even slightly arched (not rounded) with your core engaged. Keep your chest up, your shoulders pressed down and away from your ears, and your chin lifted.
With your palms facing your body, engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the weights towards your torso. Keep your elbows pointed upward! Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
• biceps curls
Grab a set medium set of dumbbells and start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart. Rotate your palms to the front (holding a dumbbell on each side) and engage the core to keep your body exactly where it is. Keeping your shoulders down, squeeze the dumbbells up to your shoulders and then slowly lower them back down.
Repeat for 10-12 reps. Keep the elbows locked into your sides!
• triceps kickbacks
Start with a dumbbell in each hand and your feet planted under your hips. Keep your back straight with a slight bend in the knees and bend forward at the waist so your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your head up!
Pull your arms tight to your sides and also parallel to the floor. Keep a 90-degree angle between your forearm and upper arm throughout the duration of the exercise. Use your triceps to lift the weights until the arm is fully extended, briefly pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
• walking lunges
Start standing straight with a dumbbell in each hand (or hands hands on your hips if you don’t want to use dumbbells) and feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with one leg and drop down to a lunge.
Keep your back knee a couple of inches off of the floor. Push off of the back foot and come up to your starting position, then repeat on the other side. Keep your body straight, chest lifted, and shoulders over your hips throughout the exercise. Repeat for 10-12 steps front, then turn around and take 10-12 steps back where you came from.
Start with your feet a bit wider than your shoulders and your hands behind your head with your elbows wide. Stand tall, then come down into a squat position with your thighs slightly higher then your knees.
Pause for a moment, then return to your starting position. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
• lateral lunges
Start standing tall with a dumbbell in each hand. (You can also drop the weights and put your hands on your hips instead.) Step out to the right and shift your body weight over your right leg, squatting to a 90 degree angle at the knee. The objective is to try to get low enough to “sit down” (squat), keeping your back as upright as possible. Push off and bring your right leg back to the center and starting position.
This is one rep. Remember to keep your weight on your heels. Complete 10-12 reps on one side before switching to the other.
I finished my gym session off with 25 minutes on the strider. It’s similar to an elliptical machine, and gets my heart beating pretty quickly with added resistance. Since I’m aiming to strengthen my glutes and hamstrings to prepare for delivery, I have been going heavy on the resistance and pedaling backwards.
Talk about breaking a sweat!
All right friends, it’s time for me to get off to work. I’d love to hear if you give this workout a try, and I’d also love to read about what type of workouts you enjoyed while expecting in the comments section below.
Questions of the Day
• Would you like to see more pre-natal fitness content on the blog?
• What is/was your favorite type of workout to do while pregnant?
I’ve loved barre workouts along with modified Orangetheory Fitness workouts during this pregnancy. I have been wanting to try a pre-natal yoga class and I still haven’t gotten around to it. What’s wrong with me? While I try to keep my cardio up, I love a good strength template (similar to what you see above) that goes at a slow and steady pace. Here’s hoping I get to a pre-natal yoga class sooner than later!
Disclaimer: Although I am a certified personal trainer, I am not necessarily your personal trainer. The workouts I post are what work best for me and might not be the right type of exercises for you. I always recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet and/or fitness routine.