1. step-up Use a step 4–8 inches high; lower the height as pregnancy progresses. Make sure your knee is always over your second toe. Do 12–15 repetitions. Recommended weight: 5–10 pounds in each hand. Note: You can also do these exercises on the bottom stair of a staircase. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and calves.
Advanced SIDE STEP-UP Stand sideways to step, your right leg close to it. Place hands on hips or hold a dumbbell in each hand on shoulders, elbows bent. Step up onto platform with your right foot; then tap your left foot on step. Step down with your left foot, then the right, tapping ball of foot on the floor. Complete reps; switch sides and repeat, leading with left foot.
Intermediate FRONT STEP-UP Face the step, hands on hips, or hold a dumbbell in each hand on shoulders. Step up onto center of platform with left foot, then right. Step down with right foot, then left. Complete reps; then switch lead leg.
Beginner SUPPORTED STEP-UP Do the same front step-up as Intermediate, hands on hips, or place a chair next to the step and hold the chair’s back for support.
2. squat Do 12–15 reps, no weight. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and inner and outer thighs.
Advanced PILLOW/WALL SQUAT Place a large stability ball against the wall behind your lower back. Walk your feet outward, toes facing forward and legs straight. Place a firm pillow between your knees, squeezing it lightly; relax your arms by your sides. Bend into a squat, keeping your knees in line with your ankles. Keeping your back against the ball and your thighs and knees lightly squeezing the pillow, straighten your legs;
Intermediate BAND/WALL SQUAT Begin in the same position as in the Advanced move above. Then place a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees. Keeping your body weight back toward your heels, bend slowly into a squat, taking 3 counts to lower; keep your knees in line with your ankles. Straighten your legs in a single count and repeat.
Beginner SUPPORTED SQUAT Stand facing a high-backed chair or a countertop and hold the top for support. Your legs should be straight, but make sure your knees are not locked. Keeping your body weight back toward your heels, slowly bend into a squat as low as you can without shifting your weight forward; keep your knees in line with your ankles. Straighten your legs and repeat.
3. row Do 10–12 reps. Recommended weight: 5–10 pounds in each hand. Strengthens middle back, shoulders and biceps.