The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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to pull weight up toward waist without twisting torso. Straighten arm to starting position and repeat. Do reps,
change legs and repeat with other arm. Weight: 5–10 pounds. To modify: In the second and third trimesters, do exercise with torso bent only 45 degrees. Strengthens middle back, rear shoulders and some biceps.
4. Seated high row Sit on ground with your legs stretched in front, knees slightly bent. Bend forward from hips and wrap resistance band or tube around both feet. Then sit erect, holding a band end in each hand, arms straight and palms down. Squeeze shoulder blades together and bend elbows back and up until they’re even with shoulders; keep forearms parallel and wrists straight. Slowly straighten arms and repeat. Weight: Choke up or lengthen hold on band to increase or decrease resistance. To modify: If you need more support, sit with buttocks against wall. Strengthens upper back and rear shoulders.
5. Incline push–up Kneel in front of a sturdy bench, couch, or step, your legs hip-width or farther apart . Place hands on bench at shoulder width, arms straight but not locked. Contract abdominals and keep upper body erect. Slowly bend elbows until they’re even with shoulders, and lower chest toward bench, keeping body in line. Straighten arms, contracting chest muscles, and return to starting position; repeat.
To modify: Active exercisers can do regular bent-knee push-ups (hips behind knees) in the first trimester. In the second trimester, do this exercise as described, and in the third trimester, both levels should switch to a wall push-up. Strengthens chest, front of shoulders and triceps.
6. Side–lying ab curl Lie on left side with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle; rest head on upper left arm. Place right hand on belly, elbow bent. Exhale, contracting abdominals to bring ribs toward hips in a crunch; tilt tailbone upward to complete movement. Inhale and uncurl to starting position; repeat. To modify: You can continue with regular ab exercises such as crunches and twists in first trimester; then switch to this exercise for second and third trimesters (both levels). Strengthens abdominals.
Level Consider yourself inactive if you haven’t been strength training consistently for at least 3 months.
Reps and sets If you’ve been inactive, begin doing this routine just twice a week in your first trimester, starting with 1 set of 8–12 reps and the lightest weight recommended. By the end of the trimester, you should be able to do 12 reps easily; then, increase your weight in 2-pound increments. In the second trimester, add a second set or a third day if you choose; rest 30 seconds between sets and accommodate for any changes in balance and belly size. In the third trimester, reduce workouts to twice a week and do 1 or 2 sets of 8–12 reps, using a weight that allows you to complete all reps with good form.
If you’ve been active, do 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps for all 3 trimesters, resting 30 seconds between sets. Choose a weight within the range that lets you complete all reps and sets with good form.