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My Second Trimester Twin Pregnancy Workout Modifications

When you’re pregnant with a single baby, the second trimester rocks. Usually the morning sickness is gone, you get some of your energy back, you sleep pretty well, and you’re rocking a cute little bump that is fun to watch grow — but isn’t so large that you can’t get out of a chair without help or that you can’t paint your own toenails.

Let me just tell that you that my experience with carrying twins in the second trimester is a bit, er, different.

First of all, my morning sickness didn’t completely go away until week 16 — and my energy didn’t feel more normal until week 20. Then, I had a couple of glorious weeks where I felt pretty normal — minus a stomach bug at week 21 — and then, around week 24, I felt like the second trimester was solidly behind me. I may have been in the second tri, but I looked — and FELT — like I was well into the third.

With all of that in mind, my second trimester workouts had a lot of modifications — and it was almost weekly that I was tweaking something to be a little less intense. As a reminder, at week 13 (see my first trimester twin pregnancy workout modifications here), my OBGYN nixed all high-impact activities for me to avoid pre-term labor. Pre-pregnancy I’d been doing two high-intensity Fit Pit workouts a week, plus one to two Orangetheory Fitness classes, and regular dog walks.

As I did in my last post with my twin pregnancy workout modifications, let me stress: this is what I did and what’s been working for me. I hope that it’s helpful for others as an example of how things can be modified. But! Every mama is different are different, and so are our babies, so talk to your doctor, listen to your body, and adjust as YOU need to.

So, with that, here are my twin pregnancy workout modifications for the second trimester!

My Second Trimester Twin Pregnancy Workout Modifications

Weeks 14: This week was pretty much the same as week 13. I was still feeling a little low-energy here and there with a little bit of nausea, but overall, feeling much, much better than the first trimester.

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Same as pre-pregnancy
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups
  • Kettlebells: Down a kettlebell size from pre-pregnancy
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 25 percent
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, rowing, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 20 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking; rowing and biking both still same
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

Weeks 15-16: Lower energy this week, but the nausea was almost totally gone!

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Modified to do them elevated with hands on a low box
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups
  • Kettlebells: Down a kettlebell size from pre-pregnancy
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 25 percent
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, rowing, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 25 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking; rowing and biking both still same
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

Week 17: Biggest change here was accommodating the growing bump by nixing most barbell work (except deadlifts) for dumbbells or kettlebells.

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Modified to do them elevated with hands on a low box
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups
  • Kettlebells: Down a kettlebell size from pre-pregnancy
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 25 percent; use dumbbells instead of a barbell except for deadlifts
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, rowing, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 25 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking; rowing and biking both still same
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

Weeks 18-20: With more of a bump and more weight on my body, push-ups were moved to a higher box. Also, overall strength training was lowered in weight. But, I got some energy back!

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Modified to do them elevated with hands on a medium box
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups
  • Kettlebells: Down a kettlebell size from pre-pregnancy
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 30 percent; use dumbbells instead of a barbell except for deadlifts
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, rowing, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 40 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking; rowing and biking both still same
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

Week 21: Stomach bug hit. Sleeping, resting and a little walking for the recovery.

Week 22: Feeling pretty normal, but 60 minutes was just too long for a workout, so I paused my Orangetheory Fitness membership until I’m cleared for exercise after birth.

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Modified to do them elevated with hands on a medium box
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups on a lower box
  • Kettlebells: Down a kettlebell size from pre-pregnancy
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 40 percent; use dumbbells instead of a barbell except for deadlifts
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, rowing, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 40 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking; rowing and biking both still same
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

Week 23: The twin bump was officially too big for the rower this week! I also moved down to the 10-pound wallball (pre-pregnancy I used the 14- or 12-pound ball, depending on how many reps, and I had been using the 12-pound ball for workouts until this week).

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Modified to do them elevated with hands on a medium box
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups on a lower box
  • Kettlebells: Down a kettlebell size from pre-pregnancy
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 40 percent; use dumbbells instead of a barbell except for deadlifts
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 40 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking, biking okay, but no more rowing
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

Weeks 24-25: I had an OBGYN appointment at week 24 — and I measured at 31 weeks (which is normal for twins, but wow!). For these weeks my deadlifts were modified by using two kettlebells held out to my sides instead of with a barbell. Lower box for step-ups and I replaced all lunges with squats, too!

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Modified to do them elevated with hands on a medium box
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups on a very low box
  • Kettlebells: Down a kettlebell size from pre-pregnancy
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 40 percent; use dumbbells or kettlebells instead
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 40 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking, biking okay, but no more rowing
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

Week 26-27: I really slowed down this week and made sure all workouts (just two to three a week, plus short walks) were 20 minutes or less. I also added in some pregnancy-specific workouts from Sara Haley (more on that below!) that have been feeling really good. Oh, and biking is still happening but I’m not sure how much longer that will be the case — I can barely get my growing bump in and out of the bike!

  • Pull-ups: Modified to body rows
  • Push-ups: Modified to do them elevated box with hands on a medium box
  • Burpees: Modified to low-impact version, with a step-back and no hop
  • Box jumps: Modified to step-ups on a very low box
  • Kettlebells: Used a lighter dumbbell as it’s more comfortable to hold and maneuver around the bump
  • Olympic lifts: Reduced weight by about 50 percent; use dumbbells instead
  • Jump rope: Modified to low-impact cardio (marching in place, bike)
  • General weight-lifting: Reduced weight by about 50 percent
  • General cardio (running, rowing, bike): Running modified to walking, no rowing, limited biking
  • Ab exercises: none except Kegels

More on Pregnancy Workout Essentials with Sara Haley

It can be really hard to find good (read: safe and effective) pregnancy workouts, but Sara Haley (who you know we adore) just put out a series of them called Pregnancy Workout Essentials and I have been LOVING. THEM.

I got access to try them when they first came out earlier in my pregnant (talk about good timing), and I found not only them to be fun, but also customizable, educational, and empowering — and there’s so much variety that you never get bored. From boxing, barre and weight training to Pilates, cardio and core conditioning, there’s more than six hours of content, allowing you to mix and match to create more than 40 different workout combinations.

Seeing that I do most of my strength training at the Fit Pit and most of my cardio is walking, I’ve regularly been doing Sara’s Core Flow routine, which is 30 minutes divided into smaller blocks (so I can do less if I’m not up for 30 minutes). It’s challenging but also feels really good to stretch out and engage my core/pelvic floor. If you’re knocked up and are looking for workouts that are safe for you and baby, this is a great program to try as it allows you to really listen to your body and do what works for you.

Now, About Those Weeks to Come …

What’s in store for me for the third trimester? Well, now that I’m feeling basically as if I’m full-term with a single baby, I can tell you it probably won’t be much more than taking some walks and doing a little strength training and/or gentle yoga. But stay tuned! Depending on how far along I make it with keeping these twin girls in for a full term (fingers crossed!), I’ll document and share it all!

Alright, twin mamas: what did your workouts look like in the second tri? Also, I’ll take any and all advice for the third tri with twins! –Jenn

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3 Comments
  1. run 3 says:

    I also became pregnant and I understand this feeling. It is a position that not everyone has that happiness. And you were also very lucky

  2. Such a beautiful article you shared to the world…. it will definitely inspired the people.

  3. Sarah says:

    This is great! Just don’t forget to meditate after your workouts. Deep breathing really helps to recover your body so you can do it again next time.