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.

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39 Weeks Pregnant – Tracy Anderson Workout

Since hitting 39 weeks pregnant I’ve been a bit reluctant to go to the gym. Not only do I feel a bit self-conscious (lots of people like to comment on how big you look) but its starting to feel like hard work. My bump probably weighs a good stone (maybe more) and the shape of it just makes things more difficult. That’s not to say I’m sitting around with my feet up. No way. I’m working out at home instead in my own space, in my own time with my phone on hand. Come on baby 🙂

My usual gym routine has now been swapped for a daily hours walk – which is about 3-4 miles and Tracy Anderson‘s workout DVD called The Pregnancy Project.

The Pregnancy Project contains nine discs, one for each month of pregnancy. Tracy, personal trainer to Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez focuses upon strength and flexibility especially in the arms, back, legs, and backside.

This is the first month I have used her DVD, so I’ve really enjoyed it so far – although I think doing it for the whole nine months would get pretty repetitive, despite the multiple discs. Tracy is also pregnant in this series, too, which means she’s on the same wavelength as you and not her usual toned and tiny self.

I really enjoy the arm series which gives you a serious arm burn without getting the heart rate too high and the legs and bottom exercises on your hands and knees feel really nice on your lower back – being in this position takes any pressure off the back and lets your uterus just hang.

I must admit its a far cry from my usual gym routine – even when I have been pregnant and taking it ‘easier’ so I found myself missing out some of the moves that didn’t feel good on my body and did squats or tube walking instead. I really appreciated the softer side of the workout though – it’s good that I’m listening to my body yet still keeping active.

Just a few days now hopefully. I am missing the gym, yes. BUT I feel it’s time to start taking it easier and conserve my energy for will probably be the biggest challenge of my life.

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