Remember, pregnancy does not mean you are sentenced to walks around the block and swimming for 9 months. You can exercise the way that feels right for you, with only a few slight adjustments. HIIT is the way I loved to workout before I became pregnant, and these routines make me feel strong, powerful, and like labor will be just another intense workout to conquer (Just hours longer 😉 )
HIIT intervals, with a mix of anaerobic strength training and intense cardio. Work intervals are 50 seconds each, rest intervals are 10 seconds each. Feel free to adjust these intervals to whatever combination (that adds up to 1 minute) that you are comfortable with (example, :30/:30).
- Dumbbells (optional)
- Water Bottle (I love this one!!)
- Chair or Bench
- Interval Timer – I use Seconds Free on my iphone. I used the HIIT timer in Seconds and added a 5 min warmup and 10 min cooldown.
Set Number of rounds to 20, High Intensity for :50, Low Intensity for :10 (I changed the label to “Rest”)
Split Leg Squat – With one leg stretched behind you, top of your foot resting on a stool, chair, or bench for balance, perform a squat on the opposite leg. Make sure you are going down to a 90 degree angle and your knee does not go past your toes. Keep your back straight, chest out, weight in your standing heel. Hold dumbbells for added resistance if you can.
Dynamic Pushups – From plank, do a pushup, hop your legs towards your chest, spreading knees to make room for your belly, like a frogger position, then hop back to plank. Repeat in one fluid motion.
2 Feet Lateral Hops – Hop on both feet from side to side, like you are skiing. Make it one smooth motion, using your arms for momentum. Keep knees bent slightly.
Start with a 5 minute warm up. I do dynamic stretching (stretching while staying moving, unlike static stretches where you hold the stretch), progressing to some jumping jacks and high knees.
- :50 Split-leg Squats w/ weights, Right Leg
- :10 rest
- :50 Split-leg Squats w/ weights, Left Leg
- :10 rest
- :50 Dynamic Push Ups
- :10 rest
- :50 2 Feet Lateral Hops, side to side
- :10 rest
Repeat this a total of 5 times for a 20 minute workout
End with a 10 minute stretching cool down. I like to stretch out my arms, then my hamstrings, my inner thighs, my quads, and then perform a few sun salutations. I also add in cat/cow to stretch out my back and hips, and end in child’s pose.
For beginners or later in pregnancy:
Squats – use body-weight only for squats
Dynamic Pushups – do push-ups from knees, walk feet out and in rather than hop
Lateral Hops – step quickly from side to side rather than hop
Perform 3 rounds instead of 5 for a 12 minute session
Benefits For Pregnancy
Intervals – Learning to work in intense intervals prepares you mentally and physically for labor by getting you accustomed to intense work, followed by rest – just like contractions. HIIT work also improves your endurance, cardiovascular health, and builds muscle, all in a short period of time.
Squats – Squats are essential in preparing your body for childbirth by strengthening your child-birthing muscles. Squatting position is one of the most effective ways to deliver a baby, so it makes sense to prepare your body’s muscles and flexibility. Squatting also helps to prepare your perineum for stretching during the pushing phase of labor.
Dynamic Pushups – A full body movement that will strengthen your core, helping with any back pain, and strengthen your child-birthing muscles.
Lateral Hops – Help with balance as your body and center of gravity change, increases cardiovascular endurance.
HIIT Training – increases the amount of oxygen you and your baby will receive over the next 24-48 hours.
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