This was my workout for today, 33 weeks pregnant.
Exercise is becoming more and more challenging and I’m finding that circuit training is going to be the best way to maintain my fitness through the end of my pregnancy. Using slower, more controlled movements with intervals of jump rope, which is still fairly easy, I can keep my muscle mass and also not lose any endurance. Hopefully this will keep my body in shape enough to not undo all the hard work preparing for the marathon of labor and childbirth up until now!
Disclaimer: these pics are terrible. I know. I am just getting so darn lazy and haven’t felt like putting an effort in. I apologize.
To read more about having a fit pregnancy, be sure to pick up a copy of my ebook – Fit To Be Pregnant: 12 Steps to the Healthy, Comfortable, and Fit Pregnancy of Your Dreams.
Circuit Training – moving quickly between supersets with no rest until 3 large muscle groups have been exercised, with 2 minutes of cardio in between each group. Each muscle group is pushed to failure through two strength training exercises, which are performed at 12 reps each back to back followed by 2 minutes of cardio. There is a 2 minute rest after all three muscle groups have been worked, and then the whole thing is repeated 1-2 more times. Choose weights that are challenging for you. Can be done at home or at the gym. Here is a more detailed explanation of circuit training.
Tricep Press – Standing with feet shoulder width apart, arms up with elbows bent at ears, holding sandbag or dumbbell behind head. Lift the sandbag or dumbbell straight up, using triceps.
Diamond Pushups – Do a pushup but with your hands together, making the shape of a diamond. This will isolate your triceps.
Sumo Squats – 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.
One Leg Deadlifts -Holding dumbbells, balance on one leg with knee slightly bent. Bend forward, leaning forward and lifting the rear leg so it’s parallel to the floor. Return to starting position without touching rear leg to the floor, staying balanced. Repeat on other side. You will feel this in your glutes.
Front 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.
Clean and Press – Detailed explanation and video here. You can use a barbell or sandbag.
Jump Rope – You can do any cardio movement if jump rope isn’t comfortable. High knees, jumping jacks, step ups, quick feet, run on a treadmill, etc.
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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.
*Note-For a true circuit training workout, try not to take a break until you have completed all 3 sets — go straight from exercise to exercise. Of course, you’re pregnant, so if your body says take a break, take one!
Each Round (3 sets) took me about 15 minutes. I did 2 rounds for a total of 30 minutes.
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:
Reps/Rounds – perform 8 or 10 reps instead of 12, or do 1 or 2 rounds instead of 3
Tricep Press, Shoulder Raises, Clean and Press – use less weight
Sumo Squats, Deadlifts – use body-weight only, use a chair for balance
Diamond Pushups – Perform from knees
Anaerobic Strength/Circuit Training – Provides you and your baby with additional oxygen over the next 24-48 hours, builds and strengthens muscles and joints that can become weak and cause aches and pain. Regular intense exercise helps baby become accustomed to stress, which will help him tremendously during labor and delivery.
Tricep Press, Shoulder Raises, Clean and Press, Diamond Pushups – strengthens back muscles, upper body, and core for better posture and reduction of back pain
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. help with balance as our body’s center of gravity changes.
Deadlifts – help with balance as our body’s center of gravity changes, builds glutes and core muscles to help with birthing, support of the uterus, and to relieve lower back pain.
Jump Rope or other cardio – carries oxygen to the baby and the body, improves circulation, reduces swelling, and increases endurance.
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