Exercises To Do During Pregnancy

Here are some simple, useful workouts to help make your upper and lower body stronger.

  • Try to do eight to 15 repetitions of each at least twice a week
  • Start with one set, and then work up to two sets
  • As you get more and more pregnant, hold on to the back of a chair if you need extra support during the leg exercises.

Seated high row

Makes your lats (the large, flat muscles on your trunk) and upper back strong

  • Sit on the floor with your legs out in front, knees slightly bent
  • Keep your back in a neutral, straight position
  • Wrap a workout tube over your feet at the arches
  • Cross the tube so it makes an "X" over your legs, and hold a handle in each hand
  • Pull the handles back, keeping your elbows up and back rather than out to the sides
  • Your elbows should be tucked in at your ribs and your shoulder blades down
  • When you've pulled back as far as you can, "scrunch" your shoulder blades toward each other
  • Return to the starting position and repeat

Over your head press

Makes your deltoids and triceps stronger

  • Sit in a chair or on a bench with your back in a neutral position
  • Hold a light dumbbell in each hand (one, two, three or five pounds)
  • Bend your elbows so the weights are at shoulder height and slightly to the side
  • Breathe out and press straight up above your head, keeping your elbows straight but not locked
  • Lower with control
  • Breathe in and repeat
  • Focus on keeping your back and neck neutral, and your shoulders relaxed
  • Don't let your neck stick out
  • Repeat

Alternating biceps curl

Makes your biceps stronger

  • Stand with your feet about hip width away from each other, knees slightly bent and your back in a neutral position
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand (start with three, five or eight pounds) with your hands at your sides, palms facing your thighs
  • Lift up the weight in your right hand first, turning your wrist toward the right so your palm faces up as you lift the weight toward your shoulder
  • Rotate back to the left as you lower the weight
  • Repeat with your left arm, rotating out to the left on the way up and in toward the right on the way down
  • Change back and forth and do 15 repetitions for each arm

Dancer's plié

Makes your thighs, hamstrings, inner thighs, buttocks, calves and shins stronger, helps leg blood flow and improves balance

  • Hold a five- to eight-pound dumbbell in each hand
  • Stand facing the back of a chair, with your feet more than hip width away from each other, feet and knees turned out
  • Contract your abdominals and lift your chest, keeping shoulders relaxed
  • Bend your elbows so the weights are at each shoulder, palms facing in
  • If you need the support of the chair, do not use weights - hold on to the back of the chair instead
  • Bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, back straight and body weight balanced over your heels
  • Lower your torso as far as you can without changing your back or hip position
  • Straighten your knees, squeezing your inner thighs and carry on without pausing, rising up onto the balls of your feet
  • Lower feet and repeat

Skater's lunge

Makes your thighs, hamstrings, buttocks, upper hip and inner thighs stronger

  • Stand with hands on your hips, or hold onto the back of a chair
  • Shift your weight to your left foot so only the toes of your right foot touch the ground; your right knee is bent
  • Tighten your abdominals to keep a neutral back and spine, and then bend your left knee as you press your right foot out to the side on a slant
  • Return your right foot to the start position, straightening your left knee
  • Repeat, and then switch legs

Leg lift crawl

Makes your buttocks and hamstrings stronger

  • Get down on all fours
  • This will help your baby move to the safe head-down position while you do the workout
  • Keep your weight evenly distributed and your arms straight
  • Moving slowly, raise your left knee and bring it toward your elbow, then straighten your leg and stretch it out and back
  • Don't lock your knee or arch your back
  • Hold for the count of five
  • Return to start, repeat five to 10 times
  • Switch legs and repeat

Workout tips

  • Don't forget to breathe - and always breathe out on the harder part of the exercise
  • Focus on keeping your stomach muscles tight, which helps keep your back and spine in a neutral, straight position
  • Never lock your knees; they should always be in a semi-relaxed position

Don't forget to always check with your doctor before starting a workout routine.

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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