Moms-to-be, you are in luck! We have a great 30-minute prenatal workout that’s appropriate for most women early in their pregnancy from Certified Prenatal and Postpartum Personal Fitness Trainer Jill Penfold. As always, remember to listen to your body and don’t do any moves that just don’t feel right or that your doctor advises against.
30-Minute Workout for Moms-to-Be by Jill Penfold
First of all, let’s begin with the important part: protecting your body during your pregnancy. As the baby (or babies) increases in weight, gravity takes over and you’ll start to find it harder and harder to maintain good posture. It’s common for pregnant women to round their upper back, and often the knees will begin to fall inwards and the pelvis will tilt forward.
Here are the three main areas we will be focusing on during this workout:
1. Posture. Be mindful from now on to lift using your legs, sit tall and straighten your back as often as you can. Bracing or activating your abdominal area is a great way to protect your back while performing most daily activities. Remain aware of how your body moves with the new added weight. There is a great deal of pressure on the spine during pregnancy and the last thing you want is any additional unnecessary back soreness. By maintaining good posture, you can eliminate any excess soreness.
2. Core exercises. Even if you already had a strong core, core strength during your pregnancy is important — when done correctly, that is. Be mindful that over-working your abdominal area can cause cramps and it will create too much tightness (or this). Always take plenty of rest between sets when working your abs during your pregnancy to avoid this.
3. Wrist strength. For the next few years you will be holding a small human, bottle feeding, changing bags, picking up toys … and the wrists are vital to these movements. Begin strengthening your wrists during your pregnancy to make life just that little bit easier once the baby is born.
Before performing any of these exercises, please get the all-clear from your doctor. Wear safe footwear and clothing that allows your body to move. If you begin to feel faint, dizzy or unwell, stop immediately and seek medical advice or help. If possible, work out with a partner or friend.
Equipment needed: yoga mat, foam roller, 2-5 lb dumbbells (optional)
Time: 3-5 minutes
Laying with a foam roller under your upper back, buttocks on the floor or hips lifted. Place your hands across your chest and gently roll along the muscles either side of the spine. After 1 minute rest. Repeat 5 times.
Side Body Stretch
Time: 2 minutes
Standing with feet at hip width, reach one arm straight above the head while the other is lose against the side of the body. Reach up and across to feel a deep side body stretch. Do 30 seconds each side and switch 2 times.
Kneeling Hip Stretch
Time: 2 minutes
Holding on to a chair or bench if needed, or balancing on a yoga mat or other stable surface, come to a kneeling position — 90 degrees at the front and 90 degrees at the back. Gently press forward to find a good stretch in the back hip flexor and thigh. Do 30 seconds each side and switch 2 times.
Strength Circuit (Legs, Buttocks, Back, Chest and Wrists)
Repeat all movements 10-15 times for 3 sets, rest fully for 60-90 second between each set
Standing with a wide stance, toes turned outwards, gently squat down until the thighs are parallel with the ground, then stand.
Begin with one foot in front of the other, hip width apart in a lunge position, hands placed at the chest, the hips or chair for stability. Toe face forward. Lower down into a high lunge, lifting the back heel from the floor. Squeezing the buttocks and thighs, come to the starting position again.
Wall or Modified Push-Up
Kneeling on the floor, walk the hands out until they are underneath the elbows and shoulders. Or, if you prefer, stand arm’s distance from a wall and place hands on the wall so that you can use it for a modified push-up. Keep the elbows at a 45-degree angle and gently lower your chest. Push against the wall/floor and raise the body up to the starting position again.
Time: 4 minutes
Set a stopwatch for 4 minutes and work for increments of 20 seconds on: 10 seconds off. Alternate between:
Use the arms to help the legs with rhythm. Bring the knees high.
Feet at hip width, maintain a flat back and hold a small 2-5 lb dumbbell, then swing the arms between the legs. Using your hips, keeping the arms straight, swing the dumbbell overhead or to eye level.
Time: 5 minutes
Begin on all fours. Hips and knees stacked, shoulders and wrists stacked. Straighten the right arm and left leg. Raise to parallel with the floor and lower. Alternate between left and right. The entire time maintain a small abdominal brace and pull in the belly button. Be aware of the hips and keep them steady. Repeat 10 times on each side and switch. Continue for 5 minutes, taking breaks as often as needed.
Gentle body stretches will improve flexibility and allow the heart rate to come back down steadily. Perform 60 seconds of each movement.
- Foam rolling (as above)
- Kneeling hip stretch with no movement
- Child’s pose
What are a few of your favorite prental workouts or moves? Yoga always felt SO good to me. —Jenn