You can strengthen your core in your pregnancy workouts! Use these pregnancy exercises to work your core and back to make it easier to carry the weight of your baby.
Exercising your core muscles during pregnancy will maintain and improve your abdominal strength which is so important as your baby develops and your body adjusts to the additional weight. A strong core helps reduce the effects of diastasis rectis and these muscles are important during the birth of your baby too.
Maintaining strength in your chest and back during pregnancy will improve your balance and posture, making it easier to adjust to the changes in gravity as your baby develops; help you to adjust as your breasts increase in size; eases pregnancy back ache and helps you to look and feel great too!
This is a great exercise for keeping your core strong during pregnancy.
On your hands and knees make sure your hands are beneath your shoulders, back and neck straight and knees hip width apart.
Draw your belly button up towards your spine.
Lift one arm straight out in front of you and the opposite leg straight out behind.
Keep them lifted for a couple of seconds and return, with control, to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side. Aim for 10-15 repetitions and do 2 sets
It’s your chest muscles that are doing all the work in this exercise, supported by your triceps.
Lie on the bench with your feet firmly on the ground and the back rest tilted at around 450
Hold the weights with your hands directly above the elbows, palms facing forwards.
Raise the weights until your arms are fully extended.
Lower the arms under control, back to the original position.
Repeat 10-15 times and aim for two sets
FittaTip: ‘Pregnant women should avoid lying flat on their back after 16-18 weeks.’
Single Arm Row
Another exercise suitable for pregnant women, this will strengthen your latissimus dorsi, the broad muscles on either side of your back.
With one foot on the floor, kneel on the bench with the other leg. One hand should be on the bench, directly below your shoulder. Hold the weight in your other hand. Try to keep your back parallel to the floor.
Fully extend the arm holding the weight, palm turned inwards.
Lift the weight towards the upper body, aiming to keep the upper arm parallel with the floor.
Maintain control as you return the weight to the original position.
Repeat 10-15 times and aim for two sets
FittaTip: ‘Aim to keep your head in line with your spine, try not to look up as you do this exercise.’
Bench Press Ups
Pregnancy bench press ups target the chest, abdominals and tricep muscles but unlike traditional push ups you are not lifting your entire body weight, which makes this a more suitable exercise for pregnant women. Make sure your bench is stable and the correct height – ideally mid way between your knees and your hips.
Place your hands on the bench slightly more than shoulder width apart. Step back until your body is close to a straight line from your head to your feet – engaging your core by drawing your belly button back towards your spine.
As you inhale lower your body towards the bench and the floor, keeping your neck and spine straight. Once your elbows are bent at to a 900 angle use your chest and arm muscles to push yourself back up to the starting position with your arms straight.
Start slowly and increase the number of push ups you can manage as your strength improves. Aim for two sets of 5-10 push ups.
FittaTip: ‘Pregnancy push ups are a great exercise for pregnant women, strengthening your upper body and most importantly strengthening your abdominal muscles as well as keeping your arms and shoulders toned. Using a bench makes it easier to continue this exercise as your baby bump gets bigger.
Modify this exercise if you prefer by putting your hands on the floor, rather than the bench and pushing up from your knees, rather than your feet.’
Whereas your bump makes a rowing machine tricky, using a TRX is a good way to include a rowing action for your upper body, strengthening your biceps, shoulder muscles and abs.
Facing the TRX anchor point, take hold of the handles with palms facing each other,
Step forward so the TRX is taut and lean back slightly so the TRX is supporting your body weight and your arms are straight.
Pulling through your arms, bring your chest to meet your hands, bending at the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades.
Lower yourself back under control to the original position
FittaTip: ‘The TRX is a great bit of kit for working different muscle groups in your body – it’s low impact which makes TRX a useful addition to your pregnancy exercise routine as it doesn’t put any extra strain on your joints. Most gyms have one, if you’re not sure how to use it, don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.’
Use these exercises as part of a complete workout that includes a safe pregnancy exercise warm up, strengthens your arms , targets your legs and incorporates cardio exercise that increases your heart rate too!
When doing any activity when pregnant make sure you listen to your body and stop if you feel uncomfortable Always consult your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns.