Exercise can still be enjoyed during pregnancy, but it must be safe and at the right level. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to stop lifting weights!
Keeping strong will help you throughout pregnancy, prepare you for labour and lifting your little one afterwards.
It’s also OK to start exercise during pregnancy but we advise that you seek advice for the best type and level for you, for both beginners and those already exercising.
Here are some strength exercises for you try in low risk pregnancy.
Squats (Picture 1)
With or without weights, they are great! They will keep your legs, glutes and back strong. They will also help to maintain your range of movement in your hips. The squat position is also a great birthing position so get practising now!
Picture 1: Starting in standing, take a breath in as you come into your squat (as if you were going to sit back on a chair), breathe out, tighten your glutes (buttocks) and your pelvic floor as you come back up into standing.
Banded straight leg dead lifts (Pictures 2/3)
These focus on your hamstrings, glutes and back.
Starting in standing, holding onto a resistance band with some tension in the band (Picture 2).
As you breathe in, bend forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and with a slight bend in the knees.
To return to standing, breathe out and tighten your glutes and your pelvic floor as you pull up against the band. (Picture 3)
Banded Rows (Pictures 4/5)
Strengthening your upper back will improve your posture and help with lifting.
Sitting on a gym ball or a chair. Have the resistant band under your feet, arms straight down at your sides, with some tension on the band (Picture 4).
Breathe out as you pull your elbows back and your shoulder blades together. Tighten your pelvic floor at the same time. Breathe in to relax your arms back down. (Picture 5)
Bicep curls (with dumbbells or resistance band – Pictures 4/6)
You’ll need strong arms to carry your baby!
Sitting on a gym ball or a chair. Have the resistant band under your feet, arms straight down at your sides, with some tension on the band. (Picture 4 again)
As you breathe out, bend at your elbows, pulling the band up, and tighten your pelvic floor at the same time. (Picture 6)
Breathe out as you relax your arms back down at your side.
Opposite reach (Picture 7)
A great exercise to strengthen your core, work on posture, shoulder, back and glute strength.
Start with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knee beneath your hips.
Tighten your pelvic floor and try to lift your bump up as you reach opposite arm and leg away. (Picture 7)
Repeat on the other side.