Pregnancy is a time where people become extremely aware of their health and their body, for obvious reasons!
We’re now (I hope) at a place where we can all agree that exercise in uncomplicated pregnancies is fantastic for mum and babe. Thing is, we’re a little sceptical and uncertain of weight training, during pregnancy.
Good news! Strength training in pregnancy, with your bodyweight or other means of resistance, can be extremely helpful for many reasons. So, how should you strength train? I’ll tell ya! 🙂
I’ve included a (free) full body workout at the end to give you an idea of how you can strength train in pregnancy with extremely minimal equipment, or how to beef it up if you have a few more pieces!]
[This article was originally posted by my friends at 360 Athletics. They are a great go-to source for any and all fitness equipment needs you may have, for the gym or for your home gym.]
Exercising through pregnancy can be so important to improving physical and mental health. The body undergoes some big changes and physical activity can help support the body through them. Movement can help ease the aches and pains of pregnancy, make labour and delivery smoother for mum and babe, and aid in postpartum recovery.
The big things you need to know for prenatal workouts:
1). Alignment and technique are extremely important:
We need the body to be in optimal alignment (think: posture) in our daily life to avoid wear and tear, and chronic injuries. When we load the body in exercise, weight training, running, etc., it becomes even more important to ensure we’re well aligned.
Being in “neutral spine” or neutral posture means you are standing tall, think about growing UP out of the top of your head. Your lower back has a small arch in it; do NOT tuck your bum under, but do NOT have an excessive arch that creates lower back pain. (Get outta those heels, girls!)
Your upper body has a slight forward curve, but try to gently lift your chest up and relax your shoulders down. Most importantly, try to think about your rib cage being stacked directly over top of your hips.
2). Core training will likely look different than pre-pregnancy.
Our main goal with “core” training is to support the pelvis and lower back, to help you feel stable, and to support your alignment. These goals can be accomplished through exercises that perhaps don’t look like you’re training your abdominals, but in fact your whole core is working throughout the move (such as squat, lunge, and row variations).
In your core training during pregnancy, we want to prevent the severity of diastasis recti (abdominal separation), ensure the pelvic floor muscles have proper tone, and make sure the deep stabilizers of the core are working properly.
I like to give this example: say you signed up for an Ironman event. This event is major. A 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles on the bike, and capped off by running a marathon. Most Ironman events have a time limit of 17 hours, which is well within the normal ranges of a first-time childbirth.
Now, would you train for months in advance of the Ironman event or would you just show up to the start line on race day and wing it? Yikes! Pretty sure we’d all do everything we could to prepare for the race, so I encourage you to look at labour the same way. This is a major physical event that requires strength, stamina, mental focus, mobility – all great stuff that you can practice for!
Your Prenatal Workout:
Here is a simple (not easy, though!) at-home workout (at at-gym) you can do, that fits all the requirements above. All you need is a resistance band (these are my fave: Strength Band) and your body! Although, I’ve given options if you’re looking for a spicier workout 😉
Do this workout for between 3-5 rounds depending on how much time you have, your energy, and your exercise experience.
Start and finish each workout with a set of 10 Core Breaths: Video HERE:
1A). Split Squats: 12 reps each side. (Advanced exercisers: Add dumbbells or kettlebells). Video HERE:
1B). 1/2 Kneeling Pallof press: 10 reps each side (Advanced exercisers: Kneel on both knees) Video HERE
1C). Single leg deadlifts: 12 reps each side (Advanced exercisers: Add dumbbells or kettlebells). Video HERE:
Rest up to 30 seconds between exercises. Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds