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25-Minute Prenatal Arm Workout: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

Build strong upper body muscles with this prenatal arm workout focusing on the upper body push muscles: CHEST, SHOULDERS AND TRICEPS. Safe for all trimesters of pregnancy.

This workout is brought to you in partnership with lululemon.

If you’ve tried one of my pregnancy workouts, you know they are challenging, advanced prenatal workouts.

This prenatal exercise routine modifies the traditional Push Day Workout (Chest, Shoulders and Triceps) to make it safe for pregnancy while still building upper body muscle.

This prenatal arm workout is safe for the first trimester, second trimester AND third trimester.

Looking for more prenatal workout routines? Check out our popular 30-Day Pregnancy Workout Plan!

Pregnant woman performing a dumbbell chest press on an incline bench | chest exercises for pregnancy
Wearing: lululemon Align Leggings, Ebb to Street Tank and Wunder Train Longline Bra

Prenatal Arm Workout FAQs

Can You Do Push Ups During Pregnancy?

YES. Push ups do a great job of strengthening your chest, shoulders, triceps, back AND core — and are easily modified to accommodate growing baby bumps (Mayo Clinic). Adding an incline to your push ups is a great way to continue to get full range of motion push ups while decreasing abdominal pressure during pregnancy.

Can You Lie On Your Back During Pregnancy Workouts?

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.

Can I Do This Workout Without An Exercise Box or Bench?

Yes. If you have a couch available, that works great. You also can use the bottom two steps of a staircase. Or you can complete these exercises from the ground, lying on a small stack of pillows.

25-minute prenatal arm workout, pregnant woman performing a single arm shoulder press

25-Minute Prenatal Shoulder, Chest and Tricep Workout At Home

Stay strong throughout pregnancy with this safe and effective PUSH DAY Prenatal Arm Workout — targeting the chest, shoulders and triceps!

This strength-focused workout hits all of your upper body muscles that work in a “pushing” motion. As well as some bonus pregnancy-safe core exercises to help activate your core and pelvic floor throughout each strength exercise.

It’s a circuit-style strength workout completed in timed intervals. Meaning you work at your pace – get in as many reps as you can, with good form, 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:

Single medium-to-heavy dumbbell and an optional bench.

I’m using 10, 15 and 20 lb dumbbells.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Prenatal Arm Workout on YouTube (shoulder, chest and tricep workout at home), led by certified personal trainer Lindsey Bomgren. 

I’ll provide form cues, modifications and motivation along the way.

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 4 Circuits (each circuit targeting an upper body muscle group — chest, shoulders, triceps)
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds of work, 20 seconds rest)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets (alternating right arm and left arm as needed)

Prenatal Arm Workout: Chest, Shoulders + Triceps Workout Outline

CIRCUIT ONE: Chest
1. Hip Thrust + Dumbbell Chest Press
2. Single Arm Chest Press, Right/Left

CIRCUIT TWO: Cardio + Core
1. Incline Push Up + Knee Drive, Right/Left
2. Incline Plank Shoulder Taps

CIRCUIT THREE: Shoulders
1. Dumbbell Front Raise + Overhead Press
2. Single Arm Arnold Press, Right/Left
3. Dumbbell Overhead March, Right/Left

CIRCUIT FOUR: Triceps
1. Seated Overhead Tricep Extensions
2. Kneeling Tricep Push Ups

8 Shoulder, Tricep + Chest Exercises for Pregnancy

Hip Thrust + Dumbbell Chest Press

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

pregnant woman performing a hip thrust and dumbbell chest press from a bench

How To Do A Hip Thrust and Dumbbell Chest Press

  1. Start sitting in front of your box or bench, feet planted on the ground in front of you, knees bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Hold one heavy dumbbell horizontally between your hands at your chest.
  3. Position your upper body so the bottom of your shoulder blades are positioned on the edge of your bench.
  4. Exhale as you squeeze your glutes to lift your hips towards the ceiling, while simultaneously pressing the dumbbell straight overhead.
  5. Hold at the top of the movement for a moment, then lower back to the starting position with control.

Single Arm Dumbbell Chest Press

Targets: Chest (pectoralis major), shoulders (anterior and lateral deltoids), triceps, abs, core and glutes.

pregnant woman performing a single arm dumbbell chest press on an incline bench, prenatal arm workout

How To Do A Single Arm Dumbbell Chest Press

  1. Start lying on an incline bench or with shoulders and neck resting on a bench or couch. Knees bent at 90-degree angles, feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in your left hand directly above your left shoulder. Your right arm can be extended overhead as well for counter-balance.
  3. With control, bend your left arm to lower the dumbbell towards your chest.
  4. Exhale as you squeeze your chest muscles to press the dumbbell back overhead.

Incline Push Up and Knee Drive

Targets: Arms, primarily chest and shoulders, but also working are the abs, core, hips, glutes and hip flexors.

pregnant woman performing incline push ups on a bench

How To Do An Incline Push Up and Knee Drive

  1. Stand in front of your bench. The higher the surface, the easier the push up will be.
  2. Plant your hands on the bench and step back into a high plank position. Shoulders are stacked over wrists, neutral spine.
  3. Hold this incline plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, as you slowly lower your chest towards the bench. Lead with your chest, elbows fall about 6 inches away from your body (not out to the sides).
  4. Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position.
  5. Then, step your right leg towards the box, shifting your weight into your right foot as you drive your left knee up in line with your left hip.
  6. Step back into an incline plank.
  7. Complete another push up, and repeat the step-in and knee drive on the opposite leg. Stepping your left leg towards the box, shifting your weight into your left foot as you drive your right knee up in line with your right hip.

Incline Plank Shoulder Taps

Targets: Shoulders and arms, transverses abdominis (deep core muscles), obliques (side abs) and back.

Shoulder taps are a major core-strengthening exercise; adding an incline removes the intra-abdominal pressure that can cause Diastasis Recti during pregnancy.

pregnant woman performing incline plank shoulder taps on a bench

How To Do Incline Plank Shoulder Taps

  1. Stand in front of your bench. The higher the surface, the easier the incline plank will be.
  2. Plant your hands on the bench and step back into a high plank position. Shoulders are stacked over wrists, neutral spine.
  3. Hold this incline plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, as you perform alternating shoulder taps.
  4. First, tap the right hand to the left shoulder, then tap the left hand to the right shoulder.
  5. Continue this alternating ‘shoulder tap’ movement removing one hand from the bench at a time.

Dumbbell Front Raise and Overhead Press

Targets: Shoulders (deltoids), chest, triceps, trapezius (upper back), abs and core muscles.

woman performing a dumbbell front raise to overhead press (prenatal arm workout)

How To Do A Dumbbell Front Raise and Overhead Press

  1. Start in a standing position, feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell horizontally between your hands, dumbbell at your thighs.
  2. Brace your core and keep your arms straight as you perform a dumbbell front raise, lifting the dumbbell up to shoulder height.
  3. Bend your elbows to curl the dumbbell in towards your face, then press the dumbbell straight overhead.
  4. With control, lower the dumbbell back to your chest, and reverse the movement. Straightening your elbows to extend the dumbbell away from your body, and lowering the dumbbell back down to the starting position.

Single Arm Arnold Press

Targets: All three heads of the deltoid muscles in your shoulder — the posterior, lateral, and anterior deltoids.

The Arnold press is considered one of the best arm exercises to build shoulder muscles.

woman performing a standing, single arm Arnold press

How To Do A Single Arm Arnold Press

  1. Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart. Start with a dumbbell in your right hand, directly in front of your face at eye level (overhead grip, palm face in towards your face).
  2. Keep a slight bend in your knees, engage your core and squeeze your glutes (to protect your low back) as you ‘goalpost’ your arm by rotating the palm out so it’s facing away from your face.
  3. Then exhale as you perform an overhead shoulder press, pushing the weight directly overhead, locking out your elbows (bicep by ear).
  4. Slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position, rotating your palms back in towards your face, and repeat.

Dumbbell Overhead March or Overhead Carry

Targets: Shoulders (scapular stabilizers)m back, lower abs, obliques and core muscles.

standing march with dumbbell | prenatal arm workout to target shoulders, chest and triceps

How To Do A Dumbbell Overhead March

  1. Start in a standing position, feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand, directly above your right shoulder.
  2. Engage your core, then drive your right knee up in line with your right hip; knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Ground through your standing leg to remain stable, then return your right foot to the ground.
  4. Then, switch sides, driving your left knee up in line with your left hip. Return to starting position and repeat.

Seated Overhead Tricep Extensions

Targets: The long head of your triceps (back of the arms), abs and core muscles.

pregnant woman seated on a bench performing overhead tricep extensions with one dumbbell

How To Do Seated Overhead Tricep Extensions

  1. Start sitting on your bench or chair, feet hip-width apart and firmly planted on the ground. Think about bracing your core to keep your body stable.
  2. Hold one dumbbell vertically between your hands straight overhead.
  3. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, bringing the dumbbell behind your head.
  4. Then exhale as you press the dumbbell back overhead. Think ‘hide the dumbbell, show the dumbbell’ if you were watching yourself in a mirror.
  5. Keep your elbows close to your ears throughout the entire movement (don’t let them flare out).

Kneeling Plyo Tricep Push Ups

Targets: The triceps, shoulders and chest muscles.

pregnant woman performing kneeling pushup on a bench, prenatal arm workout

How To Do Kneeling Plyo Tricep Push Ups

  1. Start kneeling on the ground in front of your bench. The higher the surface, the easier the tricep push up will be.
  2. Plant your hands on the bench, shoulders stacked over wrist; holding a kneeling incline plank position.
  3. Bend your arms to lower down into a push up. Lead with your chest as your elbows fall back towards your body; neck stays in line with your spine.
  4. Once you reach the bottom of your push up, exhale as you explosively push back up to the top of your push up. Option to push up with such force that your hands leave the bench for a brief moment.
  5. Reset and and return to the starting position to repeat this movement.

Shop This Post: lululemon Favorites

Not only do I love the comfort and fit of lululemon workout apparel, but it’s quality apparel that has grown with me throughout my pregnancy.

Several of these workout clothes have been staples in my closet for years; lasting me through multiple pregnancies, postpartum and motherhood.

lululemon Size and Fit Notes:

  • lululemon Align Leggings. Wearing a size 6 for pregnancy (I typically wear a size 4 in the Align Leggings). The Align Leggings are my absolute favorite everyday-wear legging when I’m not pregnant, but they become my favorite workout leggings during pregnancy. The stretchy waistband can be worn above or below the baby bump.
  • lululemon Ebb to Street Tank. Wearing a size 8 for pregnancy (I typically wear a size 6 in lululemon shirts and tanks). This has been my go-to tank for pregnancy — it has a built in shelf-bra which is perfect for everyday wear. But I do pair it with a sports bra for workouts.
  • lululemon Wunder Train Longline Bra. Wearing a size 8 (my typical lululemon bra size). I love the high neck support this bra offers with my growing bust size in pregnancy; it keeps everything secure during strength workouts.

Find more of my favorite pregnancy workout leggings, tops and sports bras in this post: The Best lululemon Maternity Workout Clothes.

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