Below is an article I wrote for Deposit A Gift, you can read it right here on my Foss Fitness Blog or click HERE to read it from Deposit A Gift’s website!
In last week’s blog, Laura discussed the importance of cardio training when you’re pregnant (Check it out here if you missed it). Now, Laura is going to focus on strength training for the mom-to-be. Here are her top tips on how to safely strength train while pregnant:
1. Simple Precautions. If weight training is already part of your exercise routine, there’s no reason to stop if your program:
- Emphasize low-weight
- Focuses on maintaining proper form
- Focuses on maintaining good posture
Free weights, weight machines, resistance bands are all great methods of weight training during pregnancy. Perform 10-15 reps for 2-3 sets for each muscle group or exercise, taking a 30-second or more rest in between each exercise.
Focus on exercises such as bicep curls, side arm raises, and standard military presses for your shoulders and arm strength, 2-3 times per week.
2. Modify your fitness routine from trimester to trimester. During pregnancy you may find that your balance and coordination are more challenged while doing exercises standing up, as your center of gravity actually shifts during pregnancy due to the extra weight in the front of your body. If you feel unstable while working out:
- Decrease the amount of weight you are lifting
- Sit rather than stand while lifting weights
- Limit your range of motion and intensity
3. Avoid lying on your back. Once you reach the second trimester, ACOG recommends avoiding exercises in the supine position (lying flat on your back) as in this position the growing uterus and fetus can compress the blood vessels running to and from your heart. An easy fix is to switch from using a flat bench to an incline bench.
4. Listen to your body. As important as it is to exercise for both mother and baby, terminate exercise immediately and contact your physician if you experience unusual symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, dizziness, or any type of pain.
Try this excellent pre-natal exercise at home in front of the TV, or at your local gym. After starting with a 5-10-minute warm-up, perform 10-15 reps for 2-3 sets.
- Start in quadruped (on all fours) with one dumbbell in right hand
- Extend left leg back and squeeze glute as you reach right arm out to side in line with your shoulder, palm down
- Return to start. Perform 10-15 reps
- Repeat on other side
Tips for Second- & Third-Trimester: Do the arm reach without the dumbbell. Do the side arm raise and the leg movement separately, or simply just do the leg squeeze (as shown in picture)
Healthy Mom = Healthy Baby!
While it may be tempting to veg out for the next 9-months, sitting around won’t give you the same benefits as staying active can. With exercise helping reduce recovery time after labor and delivery, and even helping reduce pregnancy discomforts such as backaches and fatigue, pregnancy can be a great time to get active – just remember, listen to your body and give yourself permission to rest when needed.