Finally my upper body strength is improving! I can do more pushups without dropping to my knees than before. But anything with jumps or that requires a full body movement is getting sloooooowwwww. I’m still feeling the burn though, feeling just as wiped and just as many endorphins as when I did these exercises full-out pre-pregnancy.
I chose a 15 minute workout today because it feels about right for me, but you can add another round to make a 20 minute workout if you’re up to it.
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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).
- Dip Station, Bench, or Chair
- Water Bottle (I love this one!!)
- Interval Timer – I use Seconds for iPhone. I used the HIIT timer in Seconds and added a 5 min warm-up and 10 min cool-down.
Set Number of rounds to 15, High Intensity for :50, Low Intensity for :10 (I changed the label to “Rest”)
Sumo Squats with Weight – With toes pointed to the corners of the room, legs spread just past shoulder width apart, hold weights in front of you (around your belly 🙂 ) and squat straight down, weight in heels, legs parallel to the floor, knees in alignment with toes. Think of your tailbone going straight up and down like an elevator, keep your back straight, chest out. Use weight that is heavy enough to get your heartrate up.
Burpees – Start in plank, do a pushup, jump your feet in like a frog to squat leaving room for your bump, and jump straight up in the air, arms extended. Land back down in your frogger squat, jump your feet back out to plank, and start over.
Scissor Jump Lunges – Start in lunge position, jump straight up, switch your legs in the air, and land back in lunge on the other side. Keep your knee in alignment with your toes, back straight, chest out.
Shoulder Raises – Hold dumbbells (that are heavy enough to challenge your muscles and get your heartrate up) down at your thighs, arms extended, palms in. Lift one dumbbell straight up, elbow slightly bent, until arm is parallel to the floor, then back down, alternating arms in one fluid motion. Keep the movement controlled, don’t swing or move your hips.
Tricep Dips – Using a dip station, chair or bench, face away from the edge, putting your hands behind you onto the edge of the bench, about shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet forward until your arms are supporting most of your weight. The further out you walk, the tougher the dip will be. Bend your elbows and lower your body, using your triceps, until your elbows are at about a 90 degree angle. Push your body back up until arms are straight again, this is one rep. Don’t hunch your shoulders as you dip.
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 Sumo Squats with Dumbbells
- :10 rest
- :50 Burpees
- :10 rest
- :50 Scissor Jumps
- :10 rest
- :50 Shoulder Raises
- :10 rest
- :50 Tricep Dips
- :10 rest
Repeat this a total of 3 times for a 15 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:
Rounds – Do fewer rounds for a shorter workout
Sumo Squats – Don’t use weights, hold onto the back of a chair for support
Burpees – Walk your feet instead of jumping back, do pushup from knees or remove pushup completely
Scissor Jumps – Do walking lunges instead, holding onto a chair for balance
Shoulder Raises – use lighter weights
Tricep Dips – Bend your knees and pull your feet towards you to make the dip easier, or use a thicker band if you’re using one
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.
HIIT Training – increases the amount of oxygen you and your baby will receive over the next 24-48 hours.
Sumo Squats – Squats are essential in preparing your body for childbirth by strengthening and stretching your child-birthing muscles, and also build core strength for supporting your growing uterus and stretching hip joints. Squatting also helps to prepare your perineum for stretching during the pushing phase of labor. Sumo Squats are perfect during pregnancy for accommodating your growing bump.
Burpees – full body strength and cardio that strengthens and stretches every major muscle group including the child-birthing ones, and also gets the heart rate up to carry oxygen to the baby and the body, improves circulation, reduces swelling, and increases endurance needed for labor.
Scissor Jump Lunges – build lower body and core strength to support the uterus, strengthen childbirth muscles, prevent lower back aches. Helps with balance as our gravity shifts as we grow. Also an intense cardio movement that improves endurance and circulation.
Tricep Dips and Shoulder Raises – increases upper body strength that will improve posture and prevent back pain.
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