Pregnancy is an exciting time to relish and enjoy, but it doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else work out. In fact, research shows that women who stay fit during pregnancy have shorter labors, less chance of preterm labor, fewer complications, and shorter hospital stays. Not only that, but the baby benefits too. From their brains to the size and health of their blood vessels, the benefits to the baby are numerable.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have a healthy pregnancy you can and should exercise while pregnant. Walking, swimming and other low impact forms of cardio are important for energy and health, but strength training is also a crucial part of keeping your body fit and preparing for motherhood, which requires all the strength and stamina you have! This workout will give you a functional and full body strength workout to prepare you for the heavy lifting of motherhood and keep you healthy and fit, making it easier to get back into shape after baby.
Be sure to get your doctor’s approval before beginning a prenatal strength training routine. If you are cleared, put on some comfy clothes, grab a light to medium pair of dumbbells, and try this full body workout! For best results, do this routine 2-3 times a week. You’ll be ready to lift that car seat, push the stroller and hold your new precious cargo for hours on end.
Squat To Overhead Press
Picking up your baby in a car seat requires strong legs and arms. This move takes care of both. With the extra weight in front of you, pay extra attention to keeping your bodyweight back in your heels, and keeping your core tight.
A) Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart and dumbbells at shoulder height.
B) Bending knees, lower your hips toward the floor. Both legs should bend to a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the lunge.
C) Straighten legs back to standing, then press dumbbells straight over shoulders until arms are long. Perform 8-12 reps.
Shoulder strength will be crucial post-pregnancy. You’ll likely find yourself lifting more on a daily basis than you ever have before in your life. Let’s get those shoulders ready with this move.
A) Begin in standing position, feet a few inches apart and arms alongside body holding dumbbells.
B) Keeping a slight bend in elbow, lift your arms to the side until they are parallel to the floor, and return back to the starting position with control. Perform 8-12 reps.
Stationary Lunge with Bicep Curl
A hormone called “relaxin” makes your joints more flexible during pregnancy. So instead of forward lunges that might put your knees at risk, stationary lunges are always a safer bet! Adding the bicep curl promotes multi-tasking—a skill you will have soon if you don’t already!
A) Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart and dumbbells down next to sides of legs. Step left foot behind you, keeping heel off the ground.
B) Bending knees, lower your body toward the floor as you curl the dumbbells toward bicep. Both legs should bend to a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the lunge.
C) Straighten legs back to standing as you lower dumbbells back to sides of legs. Repeat for 8 repetitions and switch feet.
Tricep Overhead Extensions
The back of your arms not only look better when they’re strong and sculpted, but they assist the rest of the arm in the heavy lifting of motherhood. Tone up your triceps with these extensions.
A) Stand with feet hip-distance apart, holding dumbbells straight overhead and keeping your spine long and abs tight.
B) Bend elbows, lowering dumbbells behind the base of the head. Keep your elbows hugging in towards your head and pointing forward. Then extend your arms long, returning to your starting position working the triceps. Perform 8-12 reps.
Yep, get ready for ANOTHER round of squats! But pliés are different; they target different muscles and focus more on your inner thighs. This move will also challenge your posture and balance with your new center of gravity. Give is a try. Just make sure to pull your abdominals in and keep your back straight. (yes, you will have abdominal muscles under there somewhere!)
A) Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and toes turned out. Bend knees, lowering torso while keeping your back straight and abs tight.
B) Squeeze your glutes and come to standing position. Perform 8-12 reps.
Most abdominal exercises are difficult to perform when pregnant. This one keeps you standing upright, but targets the obliques—the waistline—something you’ll want to retain post-baby. And the good news is that even if you have a big baby out in front, you’ll be able to reach side to side for this move.
A) Stand with feet a little wider than hip distance apart, knees bent and hands held behind the back of your head.
B) Bend to the right, reaching right hand toward the floor behind your leg. Keep spine long.
C) Return to center and repeat on the left side.
D) Continue switching back and forth for 20 repetitions: 10 per side!
For more great pregnancy workouts, try out full Baby Bump Fitness System on Get Healthy U TV!