The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
Read more »
Free-weight alternative: Begin in same position as the alternative exercise No. 4, but with left palm facing the rear instead of in. Contract upper-back muscles and bend left elbow out and up until it’s even with your shoulder. In final position, forearm will be vertical and knuckles down. Lower, repeat for reps, and then switch sides. Strengthens upper and middle back, rear shoulders.
6. Vertical pec dec Sit on a vertical pec dec machine, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Contract abs to keep back against pad. With forearms against pads, open arms to feel a mild stretch, about 45 degrees [A]. Press pads together [B]. Return to starting position. Weight range: 20–50 pounds. Free-weight alternative: Incline Fly. Sit on a high-backed chair at a 45-degree angle, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Hold a 5- to 15-pound dumbbell in each hand above midchest, palms facing in. With back supported, lower arms down and out until elbows are even with shoulders, wrists straight. Return to starting position; repeat. Strengthens chest and front shoulders.
7. Seated overhead press Sit on a shoulder press machine with the seat and seat back adjusted so the vertical hand bars are at shoulder height and just in front of your shoulders. Place feet flat on floor with knees bent, contract your abdominals and relax your shoulders; elbows should point to floor [A]. Press hand bars upward, straightening arms but not locking elbows. Keep wrists straight throughout the move [B]. Lower without lifting shoulders. Weight range: 20–40 pounds. Free-weight alternative: Sit on edge of a weight bench or high-backed chair with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent so forearms are vertical, palms facing in. Squeeze shoulder blades and press upward by straightening arms overhead; don’t lock elbows. Lower and repeat. As pregnancy progresses, sit all the way back in the chair. Strengthens shoulders and upper back.
8. Triceps pressdown Attach a straight bar to a high pulley cable. Stand with feet separated hip-width apart, legs straight but knees not locked. Hold bar with overhand grip, elbows close to waist, forearms parallel to floor [A]. Maintain arm position and press bar down toward thighs without locking elbows [B]. Return to starting position and repeat. Weight range: 10–40 pounds. Free-weight alternative: Triceps Extension. Hold a dumbbell in left hand and face the rear of an incline bench, adjusted to chest height, or a high-backed chair. Place right hand atop the support. Lean forward from hips until you’re at a 45-degree angle, left arm hanging toward floor. Squeeze shoulder blades together, and then bend elbow up to waist. Maintaining that position, straighten arm and extend it behind you. Bend elbow and return to start; repeat for reps. Switch feet and hands and repeat with right arm. Strengthens triceps.