Stay active and strong through every stage of your pregnancy with this low impact strength training pregnancy workout! Eight of the BEST first trimester exercises that are safe to carry into your second and third trimesters as well. A 30-minute prenatal workout at home with eight pregnancy-safe strength exercises.
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.
What are the benefits of first trimester exercise?
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:
Reduce lower back pain, backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
Boost your mood and energy levels
Better sleep quality
Prevent extra weight gain, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes
Promote muscle tone, strength and endurance
30-Minute First Trimester Strength Workout (8 Best First Trimester Exercises)
From squats and deadlifts to back rows and shoulder presses — these are 8 safe pregnancy 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!
I suggest adding this full body first trimester strength workout to your prenatal workout plan 1-2 times a week.
Medium to heavy dumbbells.We are using 15-20 lb weights in this pregnancy workout.
I’ll coach you through all eight first trimester exercises, providing form cues and modifications.
Alternatively, work through the list of pregnancy exercises at home below at your own pace.
The Strength Training Pregnancy Workout Looks Like This:
2 Full Body Strength Circuits (4 First Trimester Exercises per Circuit)
Time Drop Format (Set One: 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest; Set Two: 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest; Set Three: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest)
Repeat Each Circuit x3 Sets
8 Best First Trimester Exercises At Home (Safe for Second and Third Trimesters Too)
Deadlift + Curl + Front Rack Alternating Lateral Lunge
Sumo Deadlift + Back Row + Sumo Squat
Lunge Hold (Or Squat Hold) + Dumbbell Press
8 BEST First Trimester Exercises (First Trimester Strength Workout)
1. Squat + Alternating Curl + Overhead Press
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 + Alternating Bicep Curl + 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: Follow Rachel on the left and omit the knee drive.
2. Wide Squat + Alternating Back Rows
Targets: The legs, glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings, deep transverse abdomen muscles (core), and back (lats).
How to do a Wide Squat + 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 before bent over back rows.
3. 1 Push Up + 2 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 1 Push Up + 2 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 follow Rachel on the left perform modified push ups and modified planks (both from your knees).
4. Hinge Swing + 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 40 seconds on the leftt side, then switch sides, for the second set.
Modification: Follow Rachel on the left and stay standing throughout the entire movement. Perform a staggered stance dumbbell swing instead of kneeling swing.
5. 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.
6. Deadlift + Curl + Front Rack Alternating Lateral Lunge