Good morning to you!
Today I have a new workout to share with you that I specifically created for my friend, Ashley, who is currently in her second trimester. She asked for a pregnancy-safe workout that concentrates on strengthening the arms and core, so that’s what this circuit it all about.
(Also worth noting — this workout is perfect for pregnant women in any trimester as well as anyone who isn’t expecting.)
I met her at the gym and performed the workout with her, minus a few modifications to the knees since I am not pregnant. (Ha, sorry guys.) I have to admit that I didn’t expect the workout to be as challenging as it was. Both of us left the workout slightly sweatier and sore the next day. It’s a good one!
There are only six exercises in this workout that make up two mini-circuits, and each one works several groups of muscles at once. (These are my favorite types of moves!) Also, something to note if you’re pregnant is to go easy on the weights. Pick up lighter dumbbells than you did pre-pregnancy, and go for higher reps if needed. This type of training will be just as effective without straining.
Mommies-to-be: As always, I don’t encourage anyone to try anything new without a doctor’s consent, so please start there. Listen to your bodies and only do what feels good to you! 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.
Make sure to check out my video breakdown demonstrating each exercise that I posted on social, too.
And remember, this is a strength workout so it’s not about speed. Go for slow and controlled movements and break when needed!
- good mornings with triceps kickbacks
(Pregnancy modification for all: stay light in the weights to avoid straining!)
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in. Keep a slight bend to your knees, your core tight, and your back neutral. Lift your arms up (similar to a hammer curl) but only to 90 degrees. Hinge at the hips until your back is close to parallel to the floor, make sure your elbows are up, and perform a kickback by engaging your triceps and straightening your elbows. Pause for a second, then return the weights and use your hips, hamstrings, and glutes to hinge back up to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
- modified side plank crunches
Start in a forearm plank position on your elbows and toes. Mommies-to-be, definitely modify this exercise by dropping a knee. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders, your elbow is under your shoulder, your top leg is straight, and your core is tight.
Lift your hips off of the floor and perform a side crunch by lifting your top knee in while dropping your top elbow to the knee.
Return to the starting modified side plank position and repeat for 12-15 reps per side.
- biceps curls to presses
Start standing with your feet hip width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows and bring the weights to your shoulders to perform a biceps curl. Keeping your core tight, rotate your palms to face out and straighten your arms overhead to perform a shoulder (overhead) press.
Bend the elbows to return back to the top of the biceps curl position, then lower. (The palms face in, then out, then back in again.) This is one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
- alternating shoulder L-raises
(Note – you’re going to want to go very light on this one!)
Start standing with your feet hip width apart, holding a light dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your body. Slowly raise your right arm up to the side and your left arm straight in front of you. Go just high enough to get your arms parallel to the floor (shoulder height). Pause, and then slowly bring your hands back down towards your body and repeat the same motion on the other side, alternating sides for 12-15 reps on each side.
- bird dog – hand to knees
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. This version adds a little bit of extra core work by having you tap your knee with your opposite hand, too!
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 right arm straight front and your left leg straight back. Aim to get both limbs completely straight, hold for a few seconds and then bring your left knee back in and right hand down to tap the knee.
Still engaging the core, extend the right arm back in front of you and left leg straight back. This is one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps and then switch sides.
- sumo squats to high rows
Start by grabbing a set of medium dumbbells and stand with your feet turned out, wider than under your hips — similar to a plie position. With your weights in front of you and palms facing you, keep your core tight and perform a squat, then back up to your starting position. From here, keep your shoulders down and lift your elbows to pull to a high row, then lower back to your starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
Get ready for some sore muscles, especially if you complete the circuit a full three times through. And don’t forget to reference the video demonstrations, as they might be more helpful than the descriptions above.
I’d love to hear if you give this workout a try, and I’d also like to read about what type of workouts you are doing or did while expecting in the comments section below. Please share!
Also, would you like to see more prenatal workouts around here? Fun fact: I have a NASM Women’s Fitness Specialization and enjoy sharing tips for pre and postnatal friends who ask me about modifications.
Let me know!
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 routines.