Strengthen your legs, glutes, quads, thighs, hamstrings and calves with this guided PREGNANCY LEG WORKOUT! Safe for the first, second and third trimesters, and includes only bilateral movements to make it safe for anyone dealing with SPD or sciatica pain as well!
The lower body contains some of our largest, most powerful muscles – and training them is beneficial for all stages of life, including pregnancy!
During my second pregnancy, we filmed this leg day workout for women — and it’s been one of our most popular workouts on YouTube since.
That being said, some days I don’t have the energy for a full 30-minute workout. As my third pregnancy has progressed, I’ve been dealing with a lot more SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) and sciatica pain.
ENTER TODAY’S WORKOUT. It is:
Quick (10 minutes is always better than no minutes)
Efficient (with options to scale each move up or down)
Bilateral (won’t aggravate SPD, pelvic or sciatica pain)
Yes! Most leg exercises are safe to continue during pregnancy, but may have to be modified as the pregnancy progresses if you encounter SPD or sciatica pain. Certain unilateral movements (like lunges) can aggravate pain and should be avoided.
Is It Okay To Do Squats While Pregnant?
Yes. Squats are one of the best exercises for pregnant women because they also strengthen the pelvic floor. It’s also good practice before labor – squatting during labor can help open your pelvic outlet and allows more room for baby to descend (Mayo Clinic).
What Are The Benefits Of Leg Workouts During Pregnancy?
A strong lower body can make your pregnancy more comfortable by reducing common pregnancy aches and pains, including low back pain. Physical activity during pregnancy has been shown to reduce risk of gestational diabetes and improve postpartum recovery time (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists).
10-Minute Pregnancy Leg Workout
Stay strong throughout pregnancy with this safe and effective 10-Minute Pregnancy LEG WORKOUT!
This workout combines 5 of my favorite lower body exercises for pregnant women. It is designed to safely build muscle and get your heart pumping, without aggravating common pregnancy issues like SPD and sciatica pain.
Add this lower body strength workout to your pregnancy workout routine 1-2 times a week to maintain strength through the first trimester, second trimester and third trimester.
Medium-to-heavy dumbbells and optional mini loop resistance band.
We’re using 15 and 20 lb dumbbells. You also have the option to add a mini loop resistance band to increase the intensity of some exercises.
Good Morning, Side Step Squat and Dumbbell Pick Up
Targets: Hamstrings, gluteus maximus, quads, erector spinae and lower back muscles.
Good morning exercises are a great way to improve your hip-hinging form. A great lower body exercise for beginners to master prior to working on deadlifts.
How To Do A Good Morning, Side Step Squat and Dumbbell Pick Up
Place a resistance band six inches above your knees. Start in a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart, core engaged, hands placed behind your head. Place one dumbbell on the floor in front of your right foot.
With a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the ground. Core engaged and spine neutral (back flat). You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings (back of the legs) at the bottom of the movement.
Reverse the movement, driving through your heels to stand tall, returning to starting position (torso upright).
Then, step out with your right foot (so the dumbbell is now between your feet).
Sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, picking up the dumbbell with your left hand at the bottom of your squat.
Press through your heels to stand tall, bringing the dumbbell up your thighs.
Then, perform another squat to lower the dumbbell back to the mat between your feet.
Place the dumbbell on the mat and stand tall, stepping your right foot back to starting position behind the dumbbell.
Lateral Banded Walks
Targets: Glutes, specifically the gluteus medius (the outer part of your butt used for side-to-side movements), quads, hamstrings, and hip adductors (inner thighs) and abductors (outer thighs).
A GREAT exercise to build strong and healthy hips and knees.
How To Do Lateral Banded Walks
Place a resistance band six inches above your knees. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band (activating your glutes).
Bend your knees to lower down into a loaded squat position. Weight in heels, chest up.
Hold this loaded squat position as you take two lateral steps to your right; stretching the band as far as you can.
Tap your left foot in, bringing it towards your right foot, maintaining a low squat position.
Then, step out with your left leg, performing two lateral steps to your left. Maintain tension across the band before bringing your right leg to the left to meet your outside foot.
Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip abductors, chest and core.
How To Do A Two-Pulse Squat
Place a resistance band six inches above your knees. Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart.
Hold one dumbbell vertically at your chest in a goblet-hold.
Inhale as you bend your knees and sit your hips back (as if sitting down in a chair). Aim for 90-degree bends at each knee, focusing on pushing your knees out (not letting them cave in).
Pulse for a two-count, raising and lowering your hips about 2 inches at the bottom of your squat.
Exhale as you press through your heels to stand tall, driving your hips forward to return to standing.
Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips and core.
How To Do A Staggered Deadlift
Place a resistance band six inches above your knees. Start standing, feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in towards your body.
Stagger your feet, so your left leg is slightly in front of your right foot. Kickstand your back left foot, left heel floating off the ground. Keep 80% of your weight in your front foot, 20% in your back toe.
Maintain a staggered stance as you hinge at the hips. Push your hips back towards the wall behind you as you glide the dumbbells down the front of your legs until you feel a stretch along the back of your right leg.
Then, press through your front heel to push your hips forward, pulling the dumbbell back up towards your hips as you stand tall.
Targets: Gluteus maximus and gluteus medius.
This is a great alternative to a glute bridge if you aren’t comfortable lying on your back.
How To Do Donkey Kicks
Loop your resistance band around your thighs. Pin the band to the floor with your left knee, and adjust the band so it is a few inches above the right knee joint.
Start in a quadruped position on your forearms and knees: shoulders stacked over elbows and hips stacked over knees.
Brace your core as you lift your right leg. Knee stays bent and foot stays flat throughout the entire movement.
Squeeze your glute to “stamp” the sole of your right foot towards the ceiling. Make sure both hips stay straight, pointed toward the ground.
Pin This Workout: 5 Best Leg Exercises for Pregnancy
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