The Perfect Prenatal Circuit Workout

Total-body exercises to prime your pregnant-woman chassis for labor and delivery.

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Why You Need This Pregnancy Workout

You're uncomfortable, exhausted and wondering if you'll ever fit into your skinny jeans again. Ladies, we've got your back (and butt)! Research continues to show that exercising while pregnant relieves aches and makes you more likely to return to your prepregnancy weight. Plus, babies of fit moms have a lower risk of being overweight than kids of sedentary moms. This workout addresses every aspect of your changing body—from your increasingly wobbly stance to that annoying lower back pain. Plus, doing the exercises as a circuit workout increases your heart rate, making this sculpting session a cardiovascular workout, too.

What to Expect: Two or three times a week, do 1 set of 12 to 15 reps of each move in order without resting in between. Then repeat the entire circuit once (if you're a beginner) or twice (if you've been exercising regularly) more. Try to squeeze in 30 minutes of extra cardio, like walking, on the other days. You'll need a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells.

By Jeanine Detz

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Sumo Squat

Sumo Squat : When you're pregnant, your lower-body muscles have to work harder to help support your belly—and they'll be challenged to their limits during delivery. Tone your legs and butt with this move.

Instructions: Stand with your feet wide, legs and toes rotated out. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended in front of you and palms facing your body. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees. Do 1 set of 12 to 15 reps, then go right into the next move.

Photography By Ted & Debbie

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Quadruped Extension

Quadruped Extension: Pregnancy hormones relax the joints in your pelvic area, shifting your alignment. A strong core will help keep your balance in check and prevent poor posture (which can exacerbate back pain). Plus, the stronger your abs are prebaby, the easier it will be to lose the pooch later on. This is a must-do move for your middle.

Instructions: Get on your hands and knees with wrists aligned under shoulders and knees under hips. Slowly extend your right leg to hip height behind you, then extend your left arm to shoulder height in front of you [Shown].

Hold for 2 to 5 breaths. Return to starting position and repeat on opposite side to complete set. Do 1 set of 12 to 15 reps, then go right into the next move.

Photography By Ted & Debbie

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Row to Reverse Fly Stand

Row to Reverse Fly Stand: As your breasts and belly get bigger, your shoulders may round forward and your lower back will arch, causing aches. To prevent pain, and keep you standing tall, strengthen your back and shoulders with this move.

Instructions:With your feet a stride's length apart, left foot in front. Bend your left knee and lower your right heel to the floor (step feet closer together if necessary). Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended and palms facing each other, and bend forward slightly from your hips. Bend your elbows straight back behind you, drawing weights toward your lower ribs [A] Lower arms to starting position, then raise them to shoulder height out to your sides [B]. Return to starting position to complete 1 rep. Repeat for 12 - 15 reps, then go right into the next move.

Photography By Ted & Debbie

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Single-Leg Curl and Press

Single-Leg Curl and Press: Work your arms now, because carrying a baby—and all of his or her gear—requires serious upper–body strength. In addition to toning the biceps and triceps, this move challenges your core

Instructions:Stand with feet hip–width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended at your sides and palms facing forward. Shift weight to left leg and bend right knee, lifting right foot off the floor behind you. Bend elbows, curling weights toward your shoulders [A]. Extend arms to starting position, then rotate wrists back as you raise arms behind you [B]. Return arms to starting position and repeat for reps, switching legs halfway through set. (Too challenging? Keep both feet on the floor.) Do 1 set of 12 to 15 reps.

Photography By Ted & Debbie

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