5. midback fly
Do 10–12 reps. Recommended weight: 3–5 pounds. Strengthens upper back and shoulders.
Advanced BALL FLY Sit on a stability ball, knees bent, feet flat. With a dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides, bend forward from your hips. Squeeze shoulder blades together and lift arms to shoulder height. Lower and repeat.
Intermediate CHAIR FLY Do the same exercise seated on the edge of a chair, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place a firm pillow on your thighs and lean forward from your hips until your body is at a 45-degree angle. Let arms hang by sides, palms facing in. Squeeze shoulder blades together; then bend elbows up and out to shoulder height. Lower and repeat.
Beginner ONE-ARM CHAIR FLY Sit on the edge of a chair. Lean forward from your hips until your body is at a 45-degree angle and place your right forearm across your thighs. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand, arm at your side, palm facing in. Lift arm up and out to shoulder height. Lower, complete reps and repeat on other side.
6. core strengthening
Do 10 reps. Strengthens abs and lower back.
Advanced TILT AND LEG SLIDE Lie face-up on the floor, both knees bent and feet flat. Prop up your head and shoulders if you’re more than three months pregnant. Contract your abdominal muscles to bring your spine to a neutral position, tilting lower part of your pelvis upward. Holding the tilt, slide one foot along the floor until leg is straight; then pull leg back in. Keep spine in a neutral position the entire time. Alternate with other leg.
Intermediate CAT BACK AND ARM LIFT Kneel on the floor, knees in line with hips, arms straight, wrists in line with your shoulders. Maintain a neutral spine so your body forms one line from your head to your hips. Once you’re balanced, extend your left arm out to the side at shoulder height, using your abdominal muscles to keep your body stable. Round your spine up toward the ceiling, letting your head drop and relax; then arch your back to slightly lift head and tailbone. Complete reps; then repeat with right arm. Take 5 seconds to round and
5 seconds to release. To challenge yourself further, do the same exercise with the opposite leg lifted at the
same time your arm is lifted.
Beginner STANDING CAT BACK Face the back of a chair, holding it for support. Separate your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend knees. Round your back like a cat, contracting your abs to pull belly in toward spine. Arch the back to lift tailbone and head slightly. Hold position for
5 seconds; then release. Avoid overarching. Repeat.