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25-Minute Prenatal Back and Bicep Workout

Build strong upper body muscles with this pregnancy arm workout focusing on the upper body pull muscles: BACK AND BICEPS. Eight of the best bicep and back exercises for pregnancy; safe for all trimesters of pregnancy.

When it comes to pregnancy workouts, strength training is the name of the game.

We recently shared a pregnancy Prenatal Push Day Workout for the chest, shoulders and triceps.

So we had to share the complimentary PULL DAY Workout — targeting the opposing PULL muscles (the back and biceps).

Eight of my favorite pregnancy bicep exercises and pregnancy back exercises with dummbells in a solid upper body strength training session.

This prenatal exercise routine modifies a traditional pull day workout to make it safe for the first trimester, second trimester and third trimester of pregnancy.

pregnant woman performing bent over back row with one dumbbell, back exercises for pregnancy

Prenatal Arm Workout FAQs

Are Back Exercises Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, with modifications. When I’m not pregnant, pull ups are one of my favorite back exercises. However, during pregnancy pull ups put too much pressure on the core. So today’s biceps and back workout substitutes pregnancy-safe back exercises, like dumbbell rows and back flys.

Can You Lie On Your Back During Pregnancy?

Generally, being on your back for short periods of time (like during a timed interval workout) is fine. If you want to be extra cautious, you can avoid supine exercises after the first trimester and modify exercises that are traditionally done lying on your back by using an incline bench or couch.

What Are The Benefits Of Pull Workouts During Pregnancy?

Low back pain is one of the most common pregnancy ailments. One way to reduce or prevent lower back pain during pregnancy is to strengthen your back muscles, spine, pelvis, and hips. Not only will this reduce back pain and improve posture, but it will help prepare your body for the task of motherhood (like holding a baby all day).

pregnant woman performing single arm bicep curl with text overlay "25-minute prenatal back and bicep workout"

25-Minute Prenatal Back and Bicep Workout

Stay strong throughout pregnancy with this safe and effective PULL Workout — targeting the back and biceps.

This prenatal pull workout is designed to strengthen your upper body PULL muscles.

It’s a circuit-style strength workout completed in timed intervals. Meaning you work at your pace – complete as many repetitions as you can, during the 40 seconds of work time.

Add this prenatal arm workout to your pregnancy workout routine 1-2 times a week to build arm muscles.

Workout Equipment:

Medium-to-heavy dumbbells and an optional bench.

I’m using 15 and 20 lb dumbbells.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Prenatal PULL Workout on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 2 Circuits (with 4 upper body pull exercises per circuit)
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds of work, 20 seconds rest; complete as many reps as you can in the timed interval)
  • Repeat Circuit One x 2 Sets

Prenatal Pull Workout: Back and Biceps

CIRCUIT ONE (Repeat x2 sets, alternating right and left sides as needed):
1. Single Arm Tripod Back Row, R/L
2. Single Arm Bicep Curl and Opposite Leg March, R/L
3. One Incline Burpee and One Back Row
4. Dumbbell Bent Over Row
5. Wide Squat and Bicep Curl

1. Squat Hold with Bicep Curl
2. Kneeling ½ Bicep Curls (bottom half)
3. Quadruped Single Arm Back Fly, Right
4. Tempo Bird Dog, Right
5. Kneeling ½ Bicep Curls (top half)
6. Quadruped Single Arm Back Fly, Left
7. Tempo Bird Dog, Left
8. Kneeling Bicep Curls
9. Alternating Bird Dog Rows

8 Bicep and Back Exercises for Pregnancy

Single Arm Tripod Back Row

Targets: Mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats; the largest back muscle), biceps and core.

A great back exercise to target both the upper and lower back muscles, while improving core stability.

pregnant woman performing a single arm back row with opposing arm supported on bench.

How To Do A Single Arm Dumbbell Row

  1. Start with feet shoulder-width distance apart (or slightly wider as need to make room for baby).
  2. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing midline. Place your left hand on a box or bench for extra support.
  3. Hinge at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor (neck in line with your spine, flat back, belly pulled in).
  4. Hold this bent over position while performing a single arm row on the right side. Pull the dumbbell in your right hand back towards your right hip; squeezing your back muscles.
  5. Control the dumbbell back down to the starting position and repeat.

Single Arm Bicep Curl And Opposite Leg March

Targets: Biceps, core, abdominal muscles and hip flexors.

pregnant woman performing a single arm bicep curl and knee drive, prenatal workout

How To Do A Single Arm Bicep Curl And Opposite Leg March

  1. Start standing, feet hip-width apart, dumbbell in your left hand, right hand out for counter-balance.
  2. Flex the front of your left arm to curl the dumbbell up towards your left shoulder (performing a bicep curl). Pause at the top, then lower the dumbbell back down to starting position.
  3. Then, keep the dumbbell at your thigh as you drive your right knee up in line with your right hip, balancing on your left leg.
  4. Return your right foot to the ground and repeat.

Modification: Omit the knee drive or march and perform single arm bicep curls.

One Incline Burpee And One Back Row

Targets: Full body — arms, shoulders, lower and upper back, legs, hamstrings and core.

pregnant woman performing a supported burpee dumbbell back row

How To Do One Incline Burpee And One Row

  1. Stand in front of your bench. The higher the surface, the easier the burpee will be. Place one dumbbell on the ground vertically between your feet.
  2. Plant your hands on the bench and step or hop back into a high plank position. Shoulders are stacked over wrists, neutral spine.
  3. Then, step or hop back in, feet framing the dumbbell.
  4. Grab the top head of the dumbbell with both hands and perform a narrow row, pulling your elbows back towards your hips.
  5. Return the dumbbell to the ground, plant your hands on the box and repeat.

Modification: Option to step back into an incline plank, performing walking burpees.

Wide Squat And Bicep Curl

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings and bicep muscles.

Pregnant woman performing wide squat and bicep curl with one dumbbell

How To Do A Squat And Bicep Curl

  1. Start standing, feet wider than shoulder-width apart, holding one dumbbell horizontally between your hands (one head of the dumbbell in each hand).
  2. Step out wide to your right, and sit your hips back into a squat, lowering the dumbbell towards the ground as you lower your hips.
  3. Then, press off your right foot to return to standing, bringing your right foot in to tap your left as you return to your center position.
  4. As you stand, curl the dumbbell up towards shoulder height.

Squat Hold With Bicep Curl

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings and bicep muscles.

pregnant woman performing a squat hold with bicep curl at the bottom of the squat and top of the squat.

How To Do A Squat Hold With Bicep Curl (At Bottom And Top Of Squat)

  1. Start in a standing position, feet under hips or wider, core engaged. Hold one dumbbell horizontally between your hands, dumbbell at your thighs.
  2. Sit into a low squat, aiming for a 90-degree angle in both knees, thighs parallel to the floor.
  3. Hold a low squat as you bend your elbows to curl the dumbbell up towards shoulder height before returning it to starting position.
  4. Then, press through your heels to stand tall.
  5. From a standing position, perform another bicep curl, bringing the dumbbell up to shoulder height before returning it to your thighs.

Quadruped Single Arm Back Fly

Targets: The posterior deltoids (rear shoulders), and major upper back muscles including the rhomboids and trapezius.

Performing exercises from a quadruped position (or table top) on all fours helps strengthen the upper back as well as improve posture and alignment. All of which are great for pregnant women.

pregnant woman performing quadruped single arm back fly to strengthen back muscles during pregnancy.

How To Do A Quadruped Single Arm Back Fly

  1. Start in a quadruped position on your hands and knees. Kneeling on the floor, with hips stacked over knees and both hands on the mat.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in. Press the heel of your left hand into the mat for stability.
  3. Open your right arm, raising the dumbbell until it comes in line with your shoulder as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Control the dumbbell back down, returning to starting position.

Modification: If kneeling isn’t comfortable, substitute a standing single arm back fly.

Kneeling Bicep Curls

Targets: The long (outer) head of the biceps, and the short (inner) head of the biceps.

pregnant woman performing bicep curls from a kneeling position.

How To Do Kneeling Bicep Curls

  1. Start in a kneeling position, knees under hips, toes tucked underneath you.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out away from your body.
  3. Squeeze your arms to curl the dumbbells up towards shoulder level. Focus on keeping your elbows in line with your body rather than letting them swing forward or back.
  4. With control, lower the dumbbells back down to starting position and repeat.

Modification: If kneeling isn’t comfortable, substitute a standard bicep curl.

Alternating Bird Dog Rows

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

pregnant woman performing alternating bird dog back rows (a classic pregnancy back exercise)

How To Do Alternating Bird Dog Back Rows

  1. Find a quadruped position on your hands and knees. Knees hip-width apart, shoulders stacked over wrists.
  2. Place one dumbbell in each hand on the mat.
  3. Find a bird dog position by extending your right leg straight back behind you.
  4. As you kick your right leg back, perform a single arm row with your left arm, pulling the dumbbell back toward your left hip.
  5. With control, return to the quadruped position.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side, kicking your left leg back behind you and performing a single arm row with your right arm.

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