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30-Minute First Trimester Workout (Low Impact HIIT)

Stay strong during pregnancy with this low impact prenatal HIIT workout! Nine of the BEST prenatal HIIT exercises that are safe for early pregnancy and can be carried into the second and third trimesters as well. This 30-minute full body HIIT is a great low impact, but high intensity first trimester workout.

*You also can view this 30-Minute First Trimester Workout on Youtube. While you’re there, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel to get all the newest workouts!

Jump to 9 Best First Trimester Cardio Exercises

So many of you discovered NML through my FREE 30-Day Pregnancy Workout Plan or my most popular 30-Minute Prenatal Workout on YouTube.

Since I’m currently pregnant with my third child, we’re growing our library of pregnancy workouts!

We recently shared:

And now we’re adding a low impact First Trimester HIIT Workout; combining prenatal strength training with prenatal cardio. 

First trimester workout at home pin for Pinterest | image shows bird dog row with dumbbell

What makes these First Trimester Workouts different from other prenatal workouts?

To be honest, I started filming strength training pregnancy workouts out of my own discontentment with the prenatal workouts currently available online.

As someone who had a regular exercise routine pre-pregnancy, I couldn’t find pregnancy workouts on YouTube that still challenged me in a pregnancy-safe way (it was all leg lifts and 5lb dumbbells).

During the first trimester, most exercises you were doing pre-pregnancy are safe to continue.

We created this series of first trimester workouts to CHALLENGE you to continue to build strength during pregnancy, but in a safe, low impact way.

Personally, I love these first trimester workouts because they:

  • Limit up and down motions (movements that can increase nauseousness and morning sickness).
  • Include single dumbbell movements (which feels more achievable especially on the days you’re lacking energy)!
  • Modifications are included (follow modifier Rachel on left in the videos). So you can scale the workout to accommodate how you’re feeling each day AND continuing doing these prenatal workouts in your second and third trimesters as well.

first trimester workout standing knee drive

Exercise During Pregnancy FAQs:

Is it okay to workout during the first trimester of pregnancy?

In general, YES. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says it’s safe to continue regular exercise during pregnancy.

Which exercises are safe during early pregnancy?

  • Strength training and weight training
  • Walking and running
  • Yoga and pilates
  • Stationary bike or spinning
  • Swimming and water aerobics

Most physical activities you were doing pre-pregnancy are safe to continue into your pregnancy.

Of course, every body (and every pregnancy) is different. Before you begin an exercise program, you should consult your doctor, midwife or health care provider. Listen to your body! 

first trimester cardio | close up pregnancy picture first trimester

First trimester exercises to avoid?

  1. Full sit ups and crunches.
  2. Bearing down (movements or exercises that places extreme pressure on your abdominal wall and pelvic floor).
  3. Any ab exercises that cause “coning” or “doming” of the midsection (especially if you have existing diastasis recti (abdominal separation often referred to as DR). Not sure what coning looks like? Check out this Instagram Reel we filmed!
  4. High impact, contact sports.
  5. Lying on your stomach and belly down postures.

Learn more in this post on 5 Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy and Pregnancy-Safe Modifications.

You should also avoid overheating (hot yoga) and getting breathless during pregnancy workouts.

In general, it’s okay to raise your heart rate, but remember the ‘talk test.’ With moderate intensity exercise, you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation with a friend while exercising during pregnancy.

Disclaimer: Stop exercising if you experience warning signs like dizziness, leaking fluid or vaginal bleeding.

first trimester workout | glute bridge hold with dumbbell chest press

How to modify HIIT workouts for pregnancy?

You don’t have to give up high intensity interval training when you’re pregnant, but you might need to slightly modify your HIIT workouts:

  • Increase rest times as needed (the “talk test” is always a great method to abide by during pregnancy workouts).
  • Take low impact modifications.
  • Listen to your body and avoid exercises that might lead to injury or cause pain. 

What are the benefits of first trimester workouts?

I’ll be honest — between the nausea and fatigue, the first trimester has been rough in each of my pregnancies. So if you’re struggling right now just know, this happens to most pregnant women.

That said, most days movement like this first trimester workout at home did help me feel better.

According to Mayo Clinic, benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:

  • Reduced lower back pain, backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boost in your mood and energy levels
  • Better sleep quality
  • Prevented extra weight gain, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes
  • Increased muscle tone, strength and endurance

prenatal cardio and strength training at home | lateral lunge

30-Minute First Trimester Workout (Low Impact HIIT Workout At Home)

LOW impact, but HIGH intensity! Nine of the BEST first trimester HIIT exercises that are safe to carry into your second and third trimesters as well. 

A 30-minute prenatal workout at home with the best pregnancy-safe cardio exercises. Hit every muscle group in your body in UNDER 30 minutes!

I suggest adding this full body first trimester HIIT workout to your prenatal workout routine 1-2 times a week.

Workout Equipment:

One medium to heavy dumbbell. We are toggling between 15 and 20 lbs in this pregnancy workout.

Workout Instructions:

Click here to follow along with this First Trimester Workout (video at the top of this post). The video will provide demonstrations of each first trimester exercise. 

I’ll coach you through all nine pregnancy-safe exercises, providing form cues and modifications.

Alternatively, work through the list of pregnancy exercises at home below at your own pace.

The First Trimester Pregnancy Workout Looks Like This:

  • 9 Full Body Exercises
  • Timed Interval Format (40 Seconds Work, 20 Seconds Rest)
  • Repeat x2 Sets

9 Best First Trimester Cardio Exercises (Safe for Second and Third Trimesters, Too!)

  1. Squat to Balance Clean, Right/Left
  2. Single Arm Row + Snatch, Right/Left
  3. Lunge + Chop, Right/Left
  4. Single Leg Deadlift + Back Row + Bicep Curl + Press, Right/Left
  5. Lateral Squat Thruster
  6. Bird Dog Row, Right/Left
  7. Army Crawl + Dumbbell Tap
  8. Glute Bridge + Dumbbell Chest Press
  9. Lateral Lunge + 2 High Knees, Right/Left

9 First Trimester Exercises (First Trimester HIIT Workout)

1. Squat + Balance Clean

Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips, arms, abs and core.

Squats are a great exercise during pregnancy to maintain strength and range of motion in the hips, glutes, core, and pelvic floor muscles.

how to do a squat clean | first trimester workout at home

How to do a Squat + Balance Clean:

  1. Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand at your side (palm facing in).
  2. Sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, striving for a 90-degree angle between your hips and knees.
  3. Then, drive through your heels to stand tall (legs straight).
  4. As you stand, bring the dumbbell up towards your chest (this is the “clean” portion of the clean squat). “Catch” the weight at your chest with your other hand.
  5. As you clean the dumbbell up to chest height, you have the option to add a balance element by driving your right knee towards your chest.
  6. Lower the dumbbell in your right hand back to the starting position and repeat on the right side for 40 seconds.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left and omit the balance knee drive.

2. Single Arm Row + Snatch 

Targets: The legs, hamstrings hips, glutes, back, shoulders and deep transverse abdomen muscles (core).

how to do a single arm row and snatch | prenatal workout first trimester

How to do a Row + Snatch:

  1. Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand at your side (palm facing in).
  2. Hinge forward at the hips into a bent over row position, neutral spine, flat back from head to tailbone.
  3. Perform a single arm row by pulling the dumbbell back toward your right hip.
  4. With control, lower the dumbbell back down in front of you.
  5. Then, drive your hips forward as you lift the weight up with your right arm (using the momentum created by your legs and hips). Lock out your elbow (arm straight overhead with bicep by ear, palm forward). Note, you shouldn’t struggle to press the weight overhead, it should be an easy extension of the move, with the majority of the work being done by your legs to create momentum.
  6. With control, lower the dumbbell back down to shoulder height. Then, hinge forward again and repeat the row.
  7. Continue this row + snatch movement for 40 seconds.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left, substituting a high pull for the dumbbell snatch.

3. Lunge + Chop

Targets: The deep transverse abdomens muscles, oblique muscles, legs, glutes, hips, hamstrings, quads, calves, back and shoulders.

how to do a lunge and cross body chop

How to do a Lunge + Chop:

  1. Start standing in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width apart, soft bend in your knees, core engaged. Stagger your feet so your left foot is slightly behind your right. Most of your weight is in your right foot.
  2. Hold one dumbbell horizontally between your hands.
  3. Step your left leg back into a reverse lunge, dropping your left knee down towards the ground as you lower your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle, front thigh is parallel to the floor. As you lunge, pull the weight back toward your left hip.
  4. Then drive through your front, right heel and glute to return to a standing position.
  5. As you stand, use your legs, hips, glutes, abs and obliques to drive the dumbbell crossbody, extending your arms up overhead on the right side. Think left knee to right shoulder. Feet are still hip-width apart with 80% of your weight in your front right foot, and 20% of the weight in your back left toe.
  6. Lower the dumbbell with control back towards your left knee as you step back into a reverse lunge again, repeating this movement on the same side for 40 seconds.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left, “shortening the lever” by performing a modified back tap instead of a reverse lunge.

4. Single Leg Deadlift + Back Row + Bicep Curl + Shoulder Press

Targets: Legs, hamstrings, glutes, hips, lower back, mid-back, arms, biceps, shoulders, abs and core.

single leg deadlift row curl press | first tri workout

How to do a Single Leg Deadlift + Back Row + Bicep Curl + Shoulder Press:

  1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Transfer your weight into your right foot and kickstand or float your left foot off the ground, balancing on your right leg.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in your left hand (opposite hand as balancing leg), palm facing your body.
  3. With your right knee bent, hinge at your hips extending your left leg long behind you as you lower the dumbbell down towards the ground, balancing on your right leg. Keep your hips square to the mat. You should feel a good stretch in your right hamstring (back of your right leg) at the bottom of this movement. Range of motion looks different for everyone.
  4. As you reach this deadlift position, perform a single arm row by pulling the dumbbell back toward your left hip.
  5. Lower the dumbbell with control, then drive through your front right heel, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings to push your hips forward and return to the starting position. Bring your floating back leg up to meet your standing right leg again.
  6. As you return to a standing position, perform a single arm hammer curl to single arm shoulder press. Perform a hammer curl on the left arm by bringing the dumbbell up to shoulder height, palm facing in towards your shoulder. Then, press your left arm overhead performing a single arm shoulder press.
  7. As you perform the single arm shoulder press, you have the option to also perform a knee drive on the left leg.
  8. Lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and repeat on the same side for 40 seconds.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left and omit the single leg deadlift and knee drive. Instead, perform a staggered stance deadlift and back row.

5. Lateral Squat Thruster

Targets: Legs, outer glutes (gluteus medius and abductors), quads, inner thighs, chest, shoulders, abs and core.

A great low impact prenatal cardio exercise that will raise your heart rate quickly. If your heart rate gets to high you can avoid the overhead press (hands above the heart).

lateral squat thruster | prenatal cardio exercise at home

How to do a Lateral Squat Thruster:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Hold one dumbbell at your chest, horizontally.
  2. Take a lateral step to the right and bend your knees to lower down into a loaded squat position. Weight in heels, chest up.
  3. Drive through the heels to stand tall, stepping laterally with your left foot to bring it to center with your right foot.
  4. As you stand tall, drive the dumbbell overhead.
  5. Repeat this movement, stepping laterally to the right a second time and driving the dumbbell overhead as you stand tall.
  6. Alternate your lateral movement every two squats.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left, omitting the “thruster” or overhead press.

6. Bird Dog Row

Targets: Upper-mid-and-lower back, glutes, hamstrings, abs and core.

bird dog row | first trimester exercise

How to do a Bird Dog Row:

  1. Find a quadruped position with your knees hip-width apart and hands firmly on the ground, about shoulder-width apart. Engage your core. Have one dumbbell on the ground in front of your left hand.
  2. Find a bird dog position by sending your opposite (right) leg back, floating it off the ground.
  3. Perform a single arm row with your left arm, pulling the dumbbell back toward your left hip.
  4. Repeat this movement for 40 seconds.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left, taking the row from a quadruped position (in tabletop position) rather than from bird dog.

7. Army Crawl + Dumbbell Tap

Targets: Upper body, shoulders, chest, triceps, back, abs and core.

army crawl modifications | early pregnancy exercise

How to do an Army Crawl + Dumbbell Tap:

  1. Start in a low plank position — forearms on the mat, shoulders stacked over elbows and toes connected to the mat. Straight line from head to tailbone, core engaged. Place a dumbbell on the floor in front of you.
  2. Reach your left hand out to tap the dumbbell in front of you. Then, return your left forearm to the mat and reach your right hand out to tap the dumbbell in front of you. Return your right forearm to the mat.
  3. Then, place your left palm on the mat, then your right palm, pushing yourself up into a high plank position.
  4. Then, lower back down to your forearms. This is an army crawl.
  5. Once into a low plank position again, reach out to tap the dumbbell.
  6. Repeat this sequence for 40 seconds.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left, omitting the army crawl to high plank and staying in a modified low plank position (planking from knees).

8. Glute Bridge + Dumbbell Chest Press 

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, chest, shoulders, triceps and core.

Are glute bridges safe during pregnancy? In general, glute bridges are safe as long as you’re still comfortable lying on your back. If you want to avoid lying on your back perform a squat and front press.

glute bridge modifications for pregnancy

How to do a Glute Bridge + Dumbbell Chest Press:

  1. Lie flat on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Hold one dumbbell the long way at your chest.
  2. Press through the heels to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
  3. As you lift your hips off the ground, drive the dumbbell directly up overhead.
  4. Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
  5. With control, lower your hips back to the ground and lower the dumbbell back to your chest.
  6. Repeat for 40 seconds.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left, substituting a squat with dumbbell press out.

9. Lateral Lunge + 2 High Knees

Targets: Gluteus medius (the outer part of your butt used for side-to-side movements), quads, hamstrings, hip adductors and abductors, hip flexors, calves and core.

lateral lunge two high knees | first trimester workout

How to do a Lateral Lunge + 2 High Knees:

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Step your right leg out to the side as you push your hips back, bending your right knee while leaving your left leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your right leg while your left leg remains straight. Knees and toes are pointing forward.
  3. Then, drive off your right foot to reverse the movement, exploding back up to center.
  4. Perform two high knees, driving your left knee up to chest height, then your right knee. Core is engaged.
  5. Repeat this lateral lunge movement on the right leg; then switch sides for the second set.

Modification: Follow Rachel on the left, substituting two knee drives for the high knees.

Pin this Workout: 30-Minute First Trimester Workout

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For more safe pregnancy workouts, download my Free Pregnancy Workout Plan: 30 Days of Prenatal Workouts

FREE 30 Day Pregnancy Workout Plan with Videos

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