The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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1. Military press Sit erect on the edge of a sturdy chair, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, separated about hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent, forearms parallel and palms facing each other. Contract abdominals and squeeze shoulder blades together to help maintain your sitting posture. Straighten your arms up and overhead without locking your elbows, keeping arms separated. Then bend your elbows, lowering them to the starting position. Repeat. Weight: 3–l0 pounds. To modify: As you need more support, sit back on the chair seat. If you feel pain in your shoulders or wrists, decrease the weight. Strengthens shoulders, upper back and triceps.
2. Seated row Sit erect on the floor, legs extended in front of you, knees slightly bent, heels on the floor. Wrap a resistance band around both feet and hold one end in each hand. Keep your elbows bent close to your sides, palms facing each other. “Choke up” on the band to increase resistance. Pull band toward waist, using middle back muscles, until elbows are just behind you. Don’t lean forward. Return to starting position and repeat. To modify: Hold the band closer to the ends. Strengthens shoulders and middle back.
3. Upper-back squeeze Sitting cross-legged on the floor, hold the ends of a resistance band in each hand at chest height, palms facing forward, wrists in a neutral position. Your arms should be slightly bent and hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Without using your biceps, squeeze shoulder blades down and together to bring the band toward your chest; this will move your elbows just behind your shoulders. Release gently to starting position and repeat. To modify: Sit in a chair with your back supported. Strengthens upper and middle back, and rear shoulders.
4. Press-back Stand close enough to a wall that you can place your forearms on it at chest height for support and still keep your back in a neutral position. Tie a small loop in the center of a resistance band, placing 1 end around your right ankle and the other around your left foot at the arch. Keep your body weight on your right leg, knee slightly bent. Bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle so your calf is parallel to the floor and your knee is under your hip; you still have the band around your arch, with tension on it. Press your left leg backward without arching your back; contract your buttocks and hamstrings. Release to starting position, do reps, then switch band position and repeat with right leg. To modify: If you can’t maintain the position without arching your back, do the exercise lying on your side, just prior to doing exercise 7. Do this exercise first without the band to establish good form, then add the band, Strengthens buttocks and hamstrings.