Growing Strong | Fit Pregnancy

Growing Strong

A safe and simple way to stay fit as your body changes

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hips [B]. Straighten legs to starting position and repeat. Modification: You may want to switch to a leg press machine in the third trimester. Weight range: 20–50 pounds, or no weight at all if the bar is too heavy. Free-weight alternative: Do the same exercise holding a dumbbell in each hand on your shoulders. In the third trimester, place hands on a support instead of holding dumbbells. Strengthens quadriceps, buttocks, hamstrings and inner thighs.

2. Seated leg extension  Sit on a leg extension machine with back firmly against rear pad, rollers in front of ankles. Keep feet relaxed and not pointed; hold handles for support [A]. Straighten both knees until legs are fully extended [B]. Slowly return to starting position and repeat. Weight range: 20–35 pounds (up to 50 pounds
if experienced). Free-weight alternative:  Attach a 1- to 3-pound weight around each ankle; then sit on a straight-up incline bench or a high-backed chair, knees bent and feet flat on floor. Straighten one knee, extending leg in front of you. Lower, do reps, and then repeat with other leg. Strengthens quadriceps.

3. Seated leg curl  Sit in a hamstring curl machine, legs straight, roller behind ankles, support bar across thighs [A]. With back and hips against seat, bring heels down and under yourself [B]. Straighten legs and repeat. Weight range: 30–60 pounds. Free-weight alternative: Standing Leg Curl. Attach a 1- to 3-pound weight to right ankle. Stand facing a support, left knee slightly bent. Bend right knee. Bring heel toward buttocks. Lower and do reps; then switch weight to left leg and repeat. Strengthens hamstrings.

4. Seated cable row  Sit on a low cable pulley machine with feet on pads and knees slightly bent. Grasp handles, palms in, arms extended and torso slightly forward [A]. Bend elbows to bring handles toward belly [B]. Straighten arms to starting position and do reps. Weight range: 20–60 pounds.
Free-weight alternative: Bent-Over Row. Stand in a lunge position, right foot in front, facing the rear of a high-backed chair. Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in left hand, arm hanging down, palm facing in. Place right forearm across top of chair. Lean forward until back is at a 45- to 60-degree angle. Bend left elbow up. Straighten arm and repeat for reps; then switch arms. Strengthens back, biceps and shoulders.

5. High row  Sit on a low cable pulley machine with a short bar attached, placing feet on foot pad and bending knees slightly. Lean forward, grasping the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Then sit erect, arms extended but not locked [A]. Keeping back erect, elbows wide and wrists straight, squeeze shoulder blades together and then bend elbows to bring bar toward your upper rib cage [B]. Straighten arms to starting position. Weight range: 20–50 pounds.
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