Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Pregnancy Workout

As many of you know, I have somewhat become sort of a fitness addict over the years. After spending my life up to age 24 basically sedentary, I began really working out to lose some weight for my wedding. I lost the pounds, but I also noticed that working out provided me with so much energy and help relieved stress. I am just addicted to it now!

So naturally, when I found out I was expecting, my first question was, "Does my working out have to change?" Luckily, I am having a pretty easy pregnancy so far. I have been able to do all my normal activities and haven't been sick. (A little tired, but that's normal.) My doctor recommended and really encouraged that I continue my normal workout routine (cardio 4-5 days a week, weight lifting 1-2 days a week.) She actually said, in her experience, women who worked out throughout their pregnancy had an easier time with labor.

As my pregnancy progresses, I keep working out. I don't do the same intense workout that I had before. Sometimes I have to stop and take breaks when I feel cramping, but overall I have kept up a pretty good routine. I lowered my running speed on the treadmill to 6.5 mph, instead of the usual 7.2 mph. I lowered the incline on the elliptical because I found the higher incline caused some cramping and the biking hasn't changed at all. I have turned my Saturday cardio day into yoga, which Gizmo hates because I use to run/walk around the lake that day. Other than that, the regular cardio workout goes on.

One area that did really change is my weight lifting routine. I have listed below my new exercises that I feel work great for my pregnant body. I just want to make it clear though, I am not a doctor. This is not recommended for all pregnant women out there, this is just the routine I follow.

Arm Dips on a Yoga Ball
(Works: Triceps, Core Muscles and Balance)
1. Sit on a stability ball and hold a dumbbell overhead with one arm; keep arms straight and elbows forward.
2. Bend elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head to the base of neck.
3. Return to the starting position.
4. Switch arms and repeat.

3 sets of these of 12 reps using 8 pound weights.

Clockwork Orange
(Works: Arms, Back, Upper Butt, & Legs)
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes out slightly, one dumbbell in both hands in front of you, arms straight down.
2. Keeping arms and back straight, slowly squat while moving dumbbell toward the ground. (So the dumbbell should be in the center, towards the ground.)
3. Move arms in a sweeping clockwise motion. Make 12 circles.
4. Return to start and repeat in the opposite direction.

3 sets of these with a 12 pound weight.

Push-up with Gluteal Squeeze
(Works: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Abs, Glutes & Hamstrings)
1. Position yourself on your hands and knees with a weight within reach.
2. Pull in abs toward your lower back.
3. Place the dumbbell in the crook in the back of your left knee and squeeze your lower leg to keep the dumbbell in place.

3 sets of these of 12 reps using 5 pound weights.

Side Plank
(Works: Abs, Core Muscles and Balance)1. Get into a side plank position by lying on your side with extend your arm under shoulder and your feet stacked.
2. Raise your hips off of the ground and reach for the ceiling.
3. Hold the position for 60 seconds (or as hold as long as you can without dropping your hips.)
4. Switch sides.

3 sets of these at 60 seconds each side

Abductor/Adductor Machine
(Works: Inner & Outer Thighs and Hip Flexors)

This is one of the machines at my gym. You have to be careful with this machine, because if you lift too much weight it might cause you to bulk in the thighs. Many trainers don't like this machine, but I do. I feel it's really tightened up my muscles in my thighs.

I do 3 sets of these of 12 reps using 115 pound of weights. I know that seems high, but your leg muscles are REALLY strong.

Lunges
(Works: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves)
1. Start in the lunge position and lower and raise the body without pushing back to the starting position.
2. From your ankle to your knee to your inner thigh should make a right angle. You knee SHOULD NOT go past your ankle. It's bad for your knees.
3. Go up and down in a standing still position. (I hold a 10 pound weight in each hand, but it takes some time to workup to that weight.)
4. Alternate legs.

3 sets of these with 12 reps on each leg

Twisting Arms Lift
(Works: Arms, Biceps, Shoulders, Posture, and Balance)
1. Start with a dumbbell loosely gripped in one hand behind your hips, with your palm facing back.
2. As you extend your arm to the ceiling, twist as you start curling up, and end with your palm raised and facing forward.
3. Lower the weight slowly with the reverse motion.

3 sets of these of 12 reps using 8 pound of weights.

Push-Up
(Works: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, & Core)
1. Place hands on floor beneath shoulders and balance on toes, feet hip-width apart.
2. Bend elbows out to sides and lower body almost to floor as shown.
3. Keep abs tight and body in straight line from head to ankles. Try not to raise your hips up...keep it flat! The second pic (B.) shows the movement with knees resting on the floor (which is me after a couple!)

3 sets of these with as many as I can do each time

Ball Chair Dip
(Works: Triceps , Back, & Balance)
Don't you just love this animated gif? I just couldn't resist!
1.Place your heels on a yoga ball and your arms behind you on a chair or weight bench.
The ball should be far enough in front of you that your legs should be nearly fully extended and your torso upright.
2. Using your arms lower your body as far as you can.
3. Raise your body to the start position and repeat.

3 sets of these of 12 reps

Well, that is pretty much my new weight lifting routine. I usually try to switch it up ever so often so it will probably change as time goes on. During this pregnancy, I just keep focusing on keeping my body in the best shape that I can. I think it will help me out through the birthing process as well as getting back to my normal shape after the baby is born.

~Beth



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