Pregnancy fitness: 2nd trimester strength training

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising. Here’s my fourth blog – ‘Second trimester strength training.’
I remember this was the trimester well; I really got my energy back and felt great. I had my 12-week scan and suddenly my morning (and afternoon) sickness just switched off and I got my energy back.
Yes I had days when I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep so I did it. I did also find that on those tired days that some gentle exercise was great for my energy levels and pulling me out of my lull.

* As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries…*

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You’re in the prime of pregnancy during weeks 12 to 26, so it’s a great time to maximise your strength workouts to benefit yourself and your bubba.

I have designed this mini workout to help strengthen the joints for your major muscle groups like your legs, upper body and arms and to help reduce the risk of injuries related to the extra force and weight you will be carrying. Working the legs in particular will help offset stress related aches and pains in your knees, lower back and hips.

Remember labour and pushing during delivery can be that little bit easier if you’ve developed strong legs and a powerful core so by during this workout three to four times a week you should be well equipped and prepared for your last trimester.

Most of these moves at home or at a gym with minimal equipment, but just make sure you’re never out of breath or holding your breath, as this can elevate your blood pressure and starve your body of oxygen, which isn’t safe for you or the baby.

Make sure you warm up well with some marching on the spot, and doing moves like arms circles, ankle circles and gentle squats or a walk round the block to prepare your body for exercise – it will take a little bit longer than it used to because your cardiovascular system won’t react as it used too. Give yourself around 10 to 15 minutes and make it very gradual to allow your body to adjust.

The Workout
1. Assisted step into wide squat
Reps 10 each leg
Sets 3
Stand with your feet and knees together, with your right hand resting on a barre, sturdy chair or fixed item like a fireplace or kitchen workout.
Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lower into a squat with your knees and feet turned out.
Make sure you keep your body upright and that your right knee does not extend past your toes, which will place pressure on your knees.
Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete one rep.

* A wider squat will accommodate your bump, whilst helping to build strong legs and glutes and tone the inner thighs. Just don’t too low!* Image

2. Tricep dips
Reps 12
Sets 3
Sit on the edge of a bench or chair and place your palms facedown next to your thighs, fingers gripping the edge.
Place your feet on the floor in front of you, knees bent.
Keeping your arms straight, scoot forward until your hips and bottom are in front of the seat.
Bend your elbows and lower your hips until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
Push back to start.

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* A great move for targeting the backs of the arms, plus tricep strength makes it easier to push yourself up and turn yourself over, whilst taking the pressure of your abs.*

3. Ballet Calf Raises
Reps 15
Sets 3
Stand with your heels together so your feet form a V shape and hold onto a barre, sturdy chair or fixed item like a fireplace or kitchen worktop.
Keeping your heels together and toes out wide, engage your abs as you raise up onto your toes.
Pause for a second and lower slowly.

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This exercise will help keep your calve and ankles shapely, especially if you are prone to water retention. It will work your bottom and hips too.*

4. Back Pulls
Reps 12
Sets 3
Loop a resistance band (available from £4.99 at USAPro) at chest height around a door or something like the banisters and walk back until you feel tension in the band with your arms out in front of you.
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly pull the handles towards chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return slowly to start making sure you take control of the band, which will want to ping back into your starting position.

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* This posture-correcting exercise will work your upper back and help to pull your shoulders back, so you stand up straighter. You may find as you get bigger that your shoulders will roll inwards making you look hunched.*

Plank on your knees

Reps Hold for 30 seconds
Sets 2
Kneel on the floor, then shift your weight forward and place your elbows down on the floor, so they are directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your back straight as you rest on your knees and elbows.
Hold for 30 seconds, keeping your abs tight while you breathe.

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* This move will gently strengthen your core, which will helps protect your lower back, while helping your abs to recover quicker
after birth* 

 Stretch it out

Mermaid stretch
Hold for 10-15 seconds on each side.
Sit up tall with your knees crossed, then place your left hand on the floor next to you and slowly bend over to the left side.
If you feel that you can go in to a deeper stretch, put your elbow down on the floor, and continue to stretch over and hold for 10-15 seconds on each side.
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* This stretch will help the abdominal muscles loosen, especially your side abs (your obliques) which will need to be stretched out to help create space more space for your growing baby.*

Don’t forget!

As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop. Make sure you are also fully hydrated and that your exercise in cool and comfortable conditions

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Pregnancy Fitness: 1st Trimester Strength Training

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising. Here’s my second blog – ‘How to Strength Train Safely during your First Trimester’.
As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries….

Strength training in the first trimester will help you to manage exertion levels later on in your pregnancy, when things feel harder due to increased weight yet decreased energy levels.

Resistance and stretching helps to prevent injury when the pressure on your joints increases and the hormone relaxin kicks in, which we’ll explain more about in our 2nd trimester posts (levels of relaxin tends to surge in the second trimester – around the 12 week mark.) It also takes a lot of muscle and stamina to deliver a baby; so the stronger you are now, the better.

I have designed this mini workout to help strengthen all the key muscles that you will need for a strong and healthy pregnancy, while keeping the intensity down. You can do most of these moves at home or at a gym with minimal equipment – just make sure you’re never out of breath or holding your breath, as this can elevate your blood pressure and starve your body of oxygen, which isn’t safe.

Keep the reps slow too, to elongate your muscles and build strength, rather than quick jerky movements that will cause injury, and always go at your own pace and stay hydrated.

The Workout…

Prisoner Squats
Reps 12
Sets 3
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your fingers on the back of your head, pulling your elbows and shoulders back and sticking your chest out.
Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, keeping your torso upright and your core tight. Pause, and then slowly push through your heels back to the starting position.

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Upright Row
Reps 12
Sets 3
Grab a pair of light dumbbells or tin cans, and let them hang down at arm’s length in front of your waist.
Leading with your elbows, pull the weights up to your chin, making sure your elbows are higher than your wrists and shoulders.
Pause, and then slowly return the weights to the starting position

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Step up with balance
Reps 10 each leg
Sets 2
Place a step in front of you and step up with your left foot, bringing your right leg forward and up and bending your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Balance for a few seconds then lower your right leg back to start, then the left. Do all 10 reps on your left leg, before repeating on your right.

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Back Rows
Reps 12
Sets 3
Hold a pair of light dumbbells or tin cans with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
Gently bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent and your lower back naturally arched.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso.
Pause, then return to the starting position.

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Work your core – Cat and Cow
Reps 12
Sets 2
Get down on hands and knees in a tabletop position.
Look up, and stretch the front of your body as you inhale (Cow), then slowly round your back and look down as you exhale, being careful not to engage your abs (Cat).

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Stretch it out – Child’s Pose
Hold for 10-15 seconds
Sit on the floor with knees wide apart and resting on the floor. Bend forward, walk your hands forward then rest your forehead and hands on the floor as you breathe calmly and deeply.

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Remember!

As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop. Make sure you are also fully hydrated and that your exercise in cool and comfortable conditions.

You’re still in your first trimester so the baby shopping hasn’t yet begun in earnest but you can still start thinking about the bigger ticket items like your pushchair, car seat and nursery. Exciting isn’t it?!

Thank you to Nike for the kit and Nuffield Health, Bromley for shoot location.