armed & ready

Upper-body strength moves prepare you to carry your baby.


Maintaining a strong upper body during pregnancy will help keep you from hunching over as your weight increases and your breasts grow. It will also help prepare you for all the lifting and carrying you’ll be doing once your baby is born, says Elizabeth Trindade, president of Strollercize in New York.

Trindade, who designed this program, recommends doing 1–3 sets of 10–15 repetitions of each exercise 3 times a week throughout your pregnancy. It couldn’t be easier: The whole workout can be done at home with a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells and takes only about 5–10 minutes.

1 Wall Push-Up Stand facing a wall, feet hip-width apart. Place hands wider than shoulder-width apart on wall, arms straight (do not lock elbows). Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the wall until your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Return to starting position; repeat. Strengthens chest, triceps, front shoulders and abdominal muscles.

2 Push-Back Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold dumbbells at sides, palms facing in. Bend slightly forward without slouching, dumbbells under shoulders, abs tight [A]. Push dumbbells behind you, turning palms up at the top of the movement [B]. Return to starting position; repeat. Strengthens upper and middle back, shoulders, triceps and abs.

3 Press-Up Sit on a chair with your legs extended

and ankles crossed. Keeping elbows at sides, hold

dumbbells at shoulder height, palms facing in [A]. Straighten arms and press weights up and in front of you, raising eyes and chin slightly [B]. Lower chin to look straight ahead as you return dumbbells to starting position; repeat. Strengthens middle shoulders, upper back and upper chest.

4 Seated Biceps Curl Holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit toward the edge of a chair, knees bent and over your ankles, feet flat on the floor. Let your arms hang at your sides and keep your elbows in line with your shoulders, palms facing in [A]. Bend elbows to bring dumbbells toward your shoulders [B]. Lower dumbbells to return to starting position; repeat. Strengthens biceps.

[Good form]

>>Make sure your body is stable before you begin each exercise.

>>Reduce the weight of your dumbbells as needed as your pregnancy progresses. You should only use as much weight as you can comfortably handle while completing the recommended number of reps.

(TRAINING TIP) If you don’t have dumbbells, try using 1-quart water bottles filled with sand.