Check out this 8-exercise strength training workout. You can do it during pregnancy or after pregnancy.
There are three key components in a strength training program for women. To get the most out of strength training during pregnancy, during postpartum and beyond you need: aerobic, strength and stretching exercises.
A warm up & cool down should always be included. A warm up gives the body a chance to adapt gradually to exertion, which makes exercising easier and benefits your performance. Have you ever been three minutes into a run asking yourself “how will I ever accomplish 20 minutes of this?” Well, that is where a warm up comes in. Warm up gradually for 5 minutes and you will be able to accomplish more in your workout! And a cool down let’s your heart rate recover to normal. Both of these are super important if you are pregnant! But should always be done, pregnant or not.
Aerobic exercises (otherwise known as cardio)
Cardio is short for cardiovascular, and these activities are designed to elevate your heart to improve the level of fitness of your heart, lungs and the circulatory system. During strength exercises you might notice you are breathing harder than normal. A majority of strength exercises, especially those that work multiple muscles (i.e. a squat), will also work your cardiovascular system.
Though stretching may seem tedious or hard to rationalize when so many parenting responsibilities are calling, it is vital for pliable muscles and going after an injury-free workout. If you are pregnant or postpartum, I recommend specific stretching exercises to lengthen your lower back, hamstrings, and pectorals.
Strength exercises (toning)
Strength exercises will not only tone your muscles, they will boost your metabolism. The more lean tissue your body has, the more calories it burns at rest.
When strength comes to mind, we tend to think heavy weights and bulky muscles. But the opposite is true. Women don’t have enough testosterone to “bulk” like men. Although some professional athletes strength train daily with particular goals in mind, this is not the kind of strength workout you find here.
Weight workouts are not a necessity to be considered strength workouts. Your body can be used as it’s own weight.
Strength exercises should be done every other day to give the muscles time to repair. Depending on your schedule and ability, upper body and lower body can be alternated by day or total body can be done every other day. For the workout below, I recommend performing it on Days 1, 3 & 5. Then doing a cardio day (swimming, walking, jogging, cycling) on Days 2 & 4.
If you prefer to combine strength and cardio in one day, please check out our workout videos.
See the strength exercises for pregnancy and postpartum below. I always, always recommend that you know how to activate your core during exercise. If you don’t know how, please take 60 seconds to practice the prenatal core activation or postnatal core activation.
1 Leg Squat
Push up with TA activation
Core Reverse Plank
Cat to Cow Stretch
SIDENOTE: Strength Training during pregnancy has it’s own set of benefits! With your weight increasing by 15-35 pounds, the stress on your musculoskeletal system will increase. Having strong pliable muscles will alleviate some of this stress! Please check out all the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy exercise.
SDIENOTE: If you recently had a baby, within the last 6-8 weeks, it’s important you read more about your postpartum recovery.