Stay active and strong during pregnancy with these eight first trimester exercises. This low impact strength training workout includes full body exercises that are safe to carry into your second and third trimesters as well. A 30-minute prenatal workout at home.
Maintain total body strength during pregnancy with this first trimester workout.
This low impact HIIT workout and today’s prenatal strength workout were created specifically for the first trimester. We did this because these workouts:
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)!
Include modifications (follow modifier Rachel on the left in the videos). You can scale the workout to accommodate how you’re feeling each day AND continue doing these prenatal workouts in your second and third trimesters as well.
These first trimester exercises will help you maintain strength safely during pregnancy.
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. However, every body (and every pregnancy) is different. Before you begin an exercise program, you should consult your doctor, midwife or health care provider.
What Are The Benefits Of First Trimester Exercise?
Between the nausea and fatigue, you may not feel like working out in the first trimester and that’s okay! That said, movement might help. According to Mayo Clinic, exercise during pregnancy can: reduce common pregnancy aches and pains, improve your energy levels, promote better sleep, and prevent both high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Which Exercises Should Be Avoided In The First Trimester?
In general, it’s best to avoid: ab exercises that cause “coning” or “doming” of the midsection (like full sit ups and crunches), bearing down (movements that places extreme pressure on your abdominal wall and pelvic floor), high impact contact sports, and lying on your stomach or belly down postures. While it’s generally okay to raise your heart rate, remember the ‘talk test.’ With moderate intensity exercise, you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation with a friend while exercising during pregnancy.
30-Minute First Trimester Strength Workout
From squats and deadlifts to back rows and shoulder presses — these are 8 pregnancy-friendly exercises you can do at home with a set of dumbbells.
You can start these exercises in your first trimester and carry them with you into your second and third trimesters. Build strong legs, glutes, hamstrings, arms, chest, back and shoulders all in just 30 minutes at home!
Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, arms, biceps, shoulders 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 and Alternating Bicep Curl and Overhead Press
Start standing, feet shoulder width apart, knees bent. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your sides (palms facing in).
Sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, striving for a 90-degree angle between your hips and knees.
Then, drive through your heels to stand tall (legs straight).
As you stand, perform a single arm hammer curl to single arm shoulder press. Perform a hammer curl on the right arm by bringing the dumbbell up to shoulder height, palm facing in towards your shoulder. Then, press your right arm overhead performing a single arm shoulder press.
As you perform the single arm shoulder press, you have the option to also perform a knee drive on the opposite leg.
Lower the dumbbell in your right hand back to the starting position and repeat, alternating sides (on the next squat perform a single arm hammer curl and shoulder press on your left arm).
Modification: Option to omit the knee drive.
Wide Squat and Alternating Back Rows
Targets: The legs, glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings, deep transverse abdomen muscles (core), and back (lats).
How To Do A Wide Squat and Alternating Back Row
Start in a wide squat stance or sumo squat. Feet wider than hips and shoulders, knees bent, toes slightly pointed out.
Place a set of dumbbells on the ground between your legs. Hinge forward at the hips into a bent over row position, neutral spine, flat back from head to tailbone.
Alternate pulling the weights back toward your hip, right arm first.
Control the dumbbell back down to the mat. Then, perform a single arm back row on the left arm; pulling the weight back toward your left hip.
Continue to alternate the back rows while holding the wide squat the entire time.
Modification: If holding the wide squat stance becomes uncomfortable, you can perform bent over back rows.
Push Up and Dumbbell Pass
Targets: Arms, chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs, obliques and core.
Push ups are a great exercise during pregnancy to strengthen your chest, arms and core. As your pregnancy progresses you can modify with incline push ups.
How To Do A Push Up and Dumbbell Pass
Start in high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Place a set of dumbbells just behind your right hand on the mat.
Perform a push up by lowering your chest down towards the ground, elbows fall back towards hips.
Then exhale as you push back up into high plank position.
Hold high plank, keeping your core stable, as you reach across your body with your left hand to pull both dumbbells across your body (one dumbbell at a time). Dumbbells are now just behind your left hand on the mat.
Repeat this sequence, performing one push up, then pulling both dumbbells to the opposite side of the mat.
Modification: Perform push ups from your knees and the dumbbell pass from your toes; or perform modified push ups and modified planks (both from your knees).
Hinge Swing and Single Arm Press
Targets: Legs, hips, hamstrings, glutes, arms, shoulders, abs and core.
How To Do A Hinge Swing and Single Arm Press
Start in a half kneeling position — right knee bent at 90 degrees, right foot on the mat in front of you (right knee in line with hip). And left knee bent at 90 degrees on the mat underneath your left hip.
Hold one dumbbell in the left hand with a neutral grip (palm facing your right thigh).
Perform a half kneeling hinge swing by hinging at the hips with the dumbbell between your legs. Then drive your hips forward, powering the dumbbell up to your left shoulder; elbow in line with your shoulder.
Then drive through your right heel to stand up, bringing feet parallel as you push the dumbbell overhead with your left hand. Press the dumbbell straight overhead, locking out the elbow, left bicep by left ear.
Slowly lower the dumbbell back down towards the left shoulder as you step the left leg back to a lunge, lowering the left knee back to the mat with control; simultaneously lowering the dumbbell in your left hand back between the legs.
That’s one rep. Repeat this movement for the timed interval, then switch sides for the second set.
Modification: Option to remain standing throughout the entire movement. Perform a staggered stance dumbbell swing instead of a kneeling swing.
1.5 Overhead Tricep Extensions
Targets: Arms, triceps (back of the arms), shoulders, back, glutes, abs and core.
How To Do 1.5 Overhead Tricep Extensions
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, core engaged and soft bend in your knees.
Hold one dumbbell vertically between your hands overhead.
Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, bringing the dumbbell behind your head. Think ‘hide the dumbbell, show the dumbbell,’ if you were watching yourself in a mirror. Keep your elbows close to your ears throughout the entire movement (don’t let your elbows flare out as you fatigue).
Raise the dumbbell halfway up, then lower back behind your head.
Then raise the dumbbell all the way up, overhead.
Think: all the way down, half way up, back down and to the top.
Deadlift and Curl and Front Rack Alternating Lateral Lunge
Pin this Workout: 30-Minute Pregnancy Strength Workout (First Trimester, Second Trimester + Third Trimester)
Note: Every body and every pregnancy is different. Before you begin an exercise program, especially during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor or midwife. As always listen to your body and avoid exercises that do not feel good for you.
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