Most busy moms, at some point, wish they had a third arm—but since that’s unlikely, lets work on making the arms you have stronger instead. If you are pregnant, your upper body is going to be your lifeline for many weeks to come! From carrying a baby that continues to get heavier, to lifting a car seat in one arm and grocery bag in the other, you will need strong, capable arms to get you through each day! Now is the time to get started with this prenatal arm workout.
This prenatal workout is a safe, effective way to strengthen your upper body and stay fit while pregnant. Once the baby arrives, you can continue to work on those mama arms and keep them strong for every exciting moment to come! For each exercise below, follow the instructions for proper execution. If you finish the routine and have more energy, start back at the top and complete it a second time through. As always, check with your doctor to be sure it is safe for you to exercise.
Getting on the floor for a push-up goes from awkward to impossible as your stomach gets bigger. Putting your hands on a wall or elevated surface allows you to get the strengthening benefits of push-ups throughout your pregnancy! Try this push-up variation:
- Place hands shoulder-width apart on a wall, countertop or high bench.
- Step your feet back so your body is in an inclined plank position
- Slowly lower your chest, making sure your body stays in alignment.
- Exhale as you press back to the plank start position. Try 10 push-ups.
You are soon to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Keep them strong and capable with this move—just be sure to use light dumbbells to accommodate the long arms that bring the weight far away from your body.
- Hold a light pair of dumbbells against the front of your thighs with palms facing in.
- Slowly raise arms up in front of body to shoulder-height.
- Keep arms at shoulder height and open them to the sides of the body.
- Slowly lower arms down to sides of body. Now reverse the action.
- Slowly raise arms up along the side of your body to shoulder height.
- Keep arms at the same level as you pull arms back in front of your body.
- Slowly lower arms back to front of thighs. That is one repetition. Try for 5 complete repetitions.
Tricep Overhead Extensions
Yes, the back of your arms helps with overall strength. But let’s face it, you also want to keep those beauties from getting soft and saggy. For this, tricep extensions are the best!
- Hold one heavy or two lighter dumbbells straight over your head.
- Keeping elbows close to the sides of your head, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head until elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
- As you exhale, press the weights back up until arms are long again. Try 10-12 repetitions.
Related: 20-Minute Prenatal Cardio Workout
Baby Bicep Curls
One of the most challenging parts of being a new mom is holding onto that little body for hours on end, especially in the middle of the night! Isometric training is the key to strong, capable biceps. This might look like a basic bicep curl, but pay close attention to the description; your job is to COUNT while you hold it at the half-way mark, basically rehearsing your future!
- Hold a medium-heavy pair of dumbbells in your hands, palms facing forward, arms long next to your sides.
- Curl the weights half-way up and hold, counting slowly to 3.
- Now curl them all the way to your shoulders.
- Lower them back to half way and count slowly to 3.
- Now lower them back to the start. That is one repetition. Try this 8-10 times. Keep it slow and steady.
Your latissimus dorsi, or “lats”, are the strong, powerful back muscles located around your shoulder blades that help you pick up heavy items or hold them for long periods of time. Think of these muscles as the assistant to your arms and shoulders when it comes to toting your precious new cargo.
- Stand with knees slightly bent, upper body hinged slightly forward, and hold a medium-heavy pair of dumbbells facing each other with elbows bent close to rib cage. (Like you are holding two ski poles)
- Keep your elbows bent as you open your arms apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together until palms face forward and elbows are at a 90 degree angle.
- Slowly lower arms back to start position. Try 10-12 repetitions.
What? You say we already did our tricep exercise? Yes, we did but doubling up never hurts! This exercise is a bit more focused on triceps alone, whereas the overhead extensions tend to recruit shoulders to help out. And because they are going solo, this move might require weights that are just a bit lighter.
- Stand with knees slightly bent, upper body hinged slightly forward and hold a medium-heavy pair of dumbbells facing each other with elbows bent close to rib cage. (Like you are holding two ski poles)
- Press weight slowly behind you until your arms are almost straight, pause, then return to the bent position. Try 10-12 repetitions. Be sure to actively squeeze your triceps as you press back.
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