Can I Exercise While I’m Pregnant?

Posted on 16. Mar, 2013 by in Exercise

I know it’s been awhile since my last post but it’s for good reason. Maybe the title, “Can I exercise while I’m pregnant?,” can give you a clue…haha. Yes, it is true. Besides the fact that I’ve open a second fitness studio within the last few months, I am also now about 30 weeks pregnant. But, I had a little time today so I thought I would give you guys an update as to what’s going on in Anna’s world.

Maybe this post is more geared towards my women subscribers especially to those who are pregnant or planning to. To the guys out there who is reading this, maybe you can a tip or two for your significant other whenever that time comes.

Hereis a picture of me at 28 weeks (about 7 months):

As a fitness coach, I have worked with many female clients who exercised with me during their pregnancy so I already had knowledge on how to train them. But after I experienced a lot the changes that goes on in my body during pregnancy, I become an even better coach because of it.

So what I wanted to address is a common question I get a lot, “Can I exercise while I’m pregnant?.” You guessed my answer and that is a solid, “Yes!,” especially if you have a low-risk pregnancy. Low-risk just means everything is normal with your pregnancy and you are not experiencing any complications.

But even then, I always advise my clients to check with their doctor first before continuing their workout routine. Here are some guidelines:

  • You can whatever your body is used to before you got pregnant. For instance, if you have been running or used to strength training routines, you may continue doing them.
  • You will have to modify certain exercises the farther along you are during pregnancy and some exercises are completely off limits. For instance, you may have to do wall push ups during the third trimester as your belly gets bigger. Also, you will not be able to do any exercise on your belly (like Supermans) or on your back (like Bench Presses). I would do any exercise that requires me to be on my back on an incline bench.
  • You have to listen to your body. This is key. Some women can do Deadlifts all the way to their ninth month of pregnancy but I find that it was just too uncomfortable for me so I modify exercises to either go lighter, not go the full range of motion, or not do it at all.

Please note that some doctors will tell you not to lift more than 30 lbs which I think is way too conservative. My doctor told me that and of course I didn’t listen because I knew my body better. So to give you a better idea of my pregnancy workout experience so far, I would like to give you a progression of how my workouts have been throughout the trimesters.

  • First Trimester: I was going to the gym and doing full body strength workouts. I was basically doing everything I was doing before I got pregnant from Deadlifts to Bench Presses to Planks to Squats and so on. The only thing I stopped doing at this point is running but I walked my dog a lot or hopped on the Step Mill for extra cardio.
  • Second Trimester: My schedule got even busier at this time so I took home a 14 Kg (30.8 lbs) kettlebell from my studio and worked out from home. See below for more details on my workout
  • Third Trimester: I was doing similar workouts to the second trimester but with even more modifications. See below for more details on the modifications

Second Trimester Kettlebell Workout A

All my workouts were 20 minutes plus warm-up and cool down.

As with any workout, be sure to warm-up properly before the workout proper.

1) Set an interval timer like the Gym Boss to 20 second intervals with a total of 30 intervals. You can also download an app to your smart phone or Ipod by searching for “interval timer.”
2) Perform Kettlebell Swings or Snatches for 20 seconds then rest for 20 seconds.
3) Perform Goblet Squats for 20 seconds then rest for 20 seconds.
4) Perform Push Ups for 20 seconds then rest for 20 seconds.
5) Repeat steps 2-4 until you’ve finished all 30 intervals or time runs out.
6) Cool down by using a foam roller or stretch tight areas.

If you’re able to perform the whole workout, you would have done a total of 120 Swings, 50 Goblet Squats, and 70 Push Ups. Trust me, this is a complete workout that strengthens your core, works your whole body, and pumps up your heart for a wonderful cardio benefit.

This is also a great workout for pregnant women like me because it doesn’t require to do any jumping movement which leaves baby safe and sound. If you’re a beginner or you haven’t exercised in awhile, I would start with 10 intervals and work my way up with each and every workout.

Second Trimester Kettlebell Workout B

As with any workout, be sure to warm-up properly before the workout proper.

1) Set an interval timer like the Gym Boss to 20 second intervals with a total of 30 intervals. You can also download an app to your smart phone or Ipod by searching for “interval timer.”
2) Perform Kettlebell Push Presses for 20 seconds with your weaker arm first (usually left arm for most people) then rest for 20 seconds.
3) Perform Kettlebell Push Presses for 20 seconds with your other arm then rest for 20 seconds.
4) Perform Plank or Mountain Climber for 20 seconds then rest for 20 seconds.
5) Repeat steps 2-4 until you’ve finished all 30 intervals or time runs out.
6) Cool down by using a foam roller or stretch tight areas.

Third Trimester Kettlebell Workout

My Workout A is very similar to my second trimester workout except that I had to start doing my push ups against either the wall or something high and sturdy like the kitchen counter. I find that this relieves any pressure on my belly as well. I chose to perform swings because I find that it helps keep my lower back strong and the goblet squats help open up my hips to prepare for child birth.

By the third trimester, I couldn’t do KB Push Presses or Snatches anymore because I found that it put too much pressure on my core that I felt a bit of pain the next day. This is what I mean about listening to your body. You have to know when to stop doing an exercise by paying attention to how your body responds during and after the workout. I have since switched to Dumbbell Presses or Band Military Presses.

I am also consistently performing my Z-Health Joint Mobility Drills which I talked briefly about about in this post:

What Can Too Much Working Out Do to Your Body?

If you are interested in doing these joint mobility drills yourself (this is not just for pregnant women of course), I’ve prepared 3 videos for you to review. Review them carefully and perform as instructed and be sure to follow with as much precision as possible. The precision is needed for the drills to be effective. For best results, do these drills at least 2x a day with 5 repetitions per exercise, per direction.

How to Properly Perform Joint Mobility Drills at Home

If you’d like to get more kettlebell workout ideas, I suggest you check out Kettlbell Burn. For more kettlebell workout ideas during pregnancy, you may want to check out “Kettlebell Mommy.”

I hope you found today’s post helpful. If you have any questions, please post them below and I will respond to them at my earliest convenience.

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  • Alykhan Gulamali

    Anna,

    Congrats and welcome back to blogging!

  • Thanks, Alykhan!

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