Fitness is an important part of MY life AND the life I’m bringing into this world. I’m here to help you be your healthiest and happiest throughout your pregnancy and as a mum.
In my previous blogs, I have shared the benefits of exercising throughout pregnancy and also how to approach training in each trimester in order to exercise confidently and safely up until the birth of your baby. If you missed them, check them out on https://www.enritsch.com/fitness-pregnancy
I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and very excited to be in the finishing straight! In today’s blog I will be sharing with you my personal exercise regime through the trimesters. Throughout my pregnancy, the key has been to tailor my workouts to fit where I am mentally, physically and emotionally but to ensure I still move my body daily. My training frequency has varied during my pregnancy but I have aimed to complete at least two cardiovascular fitness sessions and 2-3 functional weight training sessions per week.
Preparing the body for exercise
Prior to each session, I foam roll my upper and lower back, the front and back of my thighs and calfs. This really helps iron out the aches and pains that pregnancy brings, especially from the new side-sleeping position and increasing weight of the breasts and abdomen. I always start each session with a warm-up, at least ten minutes on the cross trainer, to ready the body for training and end with a cool-down to return the body to a relaxed state. During pregnancy, I have found it important to have a longer warm-up and cool-down to ensure the safety and effectiveness of exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise increases the blood flow around our body and decreases the risk of cramps, varicose veins and swelling in the lower legs and feet during pregnancy. The increased blood flow also improves the efficiency of nutrient transport to the baby.
Cycling is a fantastic way of exercising your cardiovascular system during pregnancy, and is very popular among pre- and post-natal women because of the lower impact on the joints and, cycling gives you a more stable, safer and balanced body position (compared to other forms of cardiovascular exercise) as your center of gravity changes week by week with increasing weight and change in body shape.
Flywheel is a 45 minute indoor cycling HIIT class, in a fully air conditioned studio. It’s a great alternative to being exposed to the heat of cycling outdoors. I have recently hung up my Flywheel teaching cleats (I am an indoor cycling instructor as well as a VIP Trainer) until after the birth of my baby girl but I continue to participate in class as a rider for as long as I feel comfortable doing so.
Participating as a rider enables me to have improved bodily awareness whilst cycling, focusing on maintaining a correct technique and strong posture with an increase of awareness of my rising heart rate. It also means I can rest, change position or run out to the bathroom if I need to!
Functional Strength Training
You’ve probably gathered that I’m a huge fan of strength training. Keeping up with a strength training routine during my pregnancy has helped me build confidence in my body as it goes through this amazing transformation and in its abilities – knowing I will have the strength to do what needs to be done when the time comes.
Lifting during pregnancy is the reverse of normal lifting: normal lifting is where you lift consistently, get progressively stronger, and increase the challenge; lifting during pregnancy means choosing a weight that is lighter than you would normally use and performing higher repetitions. Your breathing is always important with weight training but even more so during pregnancy. Exhale on contraction (effort) and inhale on relaxation.
Why should you do strength training during pregnancy?
- A) Maintain muscular strength in the muscles which weaken during pregnancy.
- B) Help you withstand the physical demands of labor and motherhood itself.
- C) Enable you to return to your pre-pregnancy strength quicker.
- D) Improvements in strength and flexibility will help the body adapt to the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.
My lifting sessions involve a mix of weighted exercises designed to support real life situations to build and maintain strength for childbirth and for motherhood.
Here are FIVE exercises that I always incorporate into my lifting sessions 2-3 times per week, and can be done in all three trimesters providing you feel comfortable. I vary the repetitions between 10 and 15 and perform 2-3 sets of each exercise.
See video demonstrations below.
- A full body exercise that will primarily strengthen the lower back, legs and muscles around the birth canal supporting the pelvis and growing baby and very helpful in assisting you to push the baby out!
- Women find they can tolerate their heavier body weight and altered centre of gravity better with performing deadlifts throughout their pregnancy.
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
- This exercise will strengthen your back and spine, which will help improve posture, counteracting the tendency of your body to round forward.
- The front plank is a great isometric exercise to maintain your core strength.
- Core training has the biggest positive impact on limiting abdominal separation and improving pelvic floor health.
- It can help relieve pelvic pain and back pain as well as assist in pushing your baby out!
Elevated Press-Ups or Incline Dumbbell Press
- Strengthening your chest will help support the growing breast tissue during pregnancy and post-pregnancy will help give your breasts a perkier and more uplifted look.
Kettle-Bell Suitcase Carry
- This exercise is great for posture. It encourages you to pay attention to how you hold yourself when you walk during your pregnancy, not just during the exercise but day to day moving around.
- It challenges the core as well as giving the back shoulders and forearms a workout whilst you work to maintain an upright position.
- This is also good practice for carrying your little one after it’s born! Let’s face it, Mamas, you’re going to have to carry your child and other heavy things. Might as well practice now, during pregnancy, right?
Be Strong but be Sensible
The above exercises are highly beneficial during pregnancy and I’ve been able to continue them throughout all three trimesters. Although it’s important to remember that every person’s pregnancy is different. There have been plenty of days I’ve gone home and taken a nap instead of going to work out and I’m fine with that. Being healthy not only means being active but also getting your needed rest. If you don’t feel comfortable doing a lift anymore then I would suggest you find an alternative exercise or just let it go. Keep moving, keep active and rest when your body needs it.
If you are pregnant and NEW to exercise, there is NO better time to start! Check out my pregnancy blog for guidelines on how to progress gently and gradually over the weeks and what is recommended for YOU to do safely throughout your pregnancy.
Here’s to being a fit and healthy mum,
For Online Coaching through the Trimesters please contact me via my website www.rhianadamsfitforlife.co.uk