At-Home Prenatal Barre Workout

Build strength for an easier pregnancy and delivery with these five barre exercises!

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Courtesy of The Barre Code

For moms-to-be, barre workouts are kind of where it's at. They focus on strengthening the core, hips and legs—exactly what you need right now to stay stable and strong, not to mention what you'll use later on when it's time to push. And the challenging arm moves help sculpt your upper body to prep it for toting around your little one.

"Building a strong physical foundation will help you feel good throughout your pregnancy and delivery, and will help you bounce back much quicker postpartum," says Jillian Lorenz, founder of The Barre Code, a chain of barre studios with locations across the country. Lorenz designed (and modeled!) these exclusive moves for Fit Pregnancy—and you can use the code FITPREG2015 for 20% off class packs at www.thebarrecode.com.

THE PLAN

HOW IT WORKS: Do each move as instructed and repeat the sequence 1-2 times, 3-4 times per week.

YOU'LL NEED: A yoga mat, a set of light weights, and a stable surface for balance like a tall chair or countertop.

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Flat Back/Cat

Courtesy of The Barre Code

Flat Back/Cat

Activates and strengthens deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, stretches lower back.

Start on all fours with a flat back and weight distributed evenly among hands and knees. Exhale, rounding through the back, lifting up through the pelvic floor and thinking about "hugging your baby in closer" using the transverse abdominals. Hold for a count of 5 and inhale returning back to your flat back starting position. Repeat 15 times.

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All About That Bass

Courtesy of The Barre Code

All About That Bass

Strengthens glutes and outer hips, stabilizes lower back and core.

Part 1: Start on all fours and extend left leg straight back behind you, laces facing the ground. Lift the extended leg to hip height by squeezing glutes. Lower leg with control and repeat. As you lift the leg, focus on keeping the lower back flat—no arching!—and hug your baby up and in toward the spine. Repeat 15 times, then switch sides.

Part 2: Drop down to the left forearm and open hips to the right. Extend right leg up on the diagonal, laces pointing out. Take little lifts of the leg by squeezing outer hip muscle. Keep pressing out of the shoulder, and keep pulling the belly in to stabilize the position. Pulse for 10, hold high for 10, then repeat two more times. Then switch sides.

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Dip and Reverse Plank

Courtesy of The Barre Code

Dip and Reverse Plank

Strengthens triceps, shoulders and core.

Dip: Start in a seated position with feet flat on floor, hip-width apart, and place the hands behind the seat with fingertips facing forward. Lift seat to a hover and shift weight into palms feeling the load in the shoulders and triceps. Bend elbows as deep as you can without seat hitting the floor, exhale, press through the palms and extend the arms squeezing through the triceps. Repeat 10 times.

Reverse Plank: With arms straight, extend legs long while keeping the glutes squeezed and lifted. Push out of palms, squeezing back of upper arm, press up and out of the shoulders, squeeze the glutes up, hug the baby in, and reach as long as you can through the toes. Hold this active position for 15-20 seconds.

Drop to the seat, shake out the wrists, then repeat the Dip and Reverse Plank two more times.

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Kneeling L Raise

Courtesy of The Barre Code

Kneeling L Raise

Strengthens shoulders and stabilizes glutes and core.

Start in a high kneeling position with knees two fists'-distance apart (if this bothers your knees, tuck your toes under for additional support and cushion with a folded-over yoga mat or towel). Squeeze glutes together, and hug the baby up and in while lifting through the pelvic floor. With a weight in each hand, extend and lift arms straight ahead to shoulder height, then lower. Then extend left arm straight forward to shoulder height and right arm straight out to the side, then lower. Repeat "L" shape on other side. Continue doing center, right L, left L for 8 to 10 rounds. Rest, then perform two more circuits.

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Wide Second Pulses

Courtesy of The Barre Code

Wide Second Pulses

Strengthens quads, hamstrings, inner thighs, glutes and hips.

Use the back of a chair or a counter for stability. Set feet out to a wide straddle position—much wider than the shoulders. Turn feet out to 45 degrees. Tuck tailbone straight down and bend knees right over toes, then lower the body slightly as if sliding straight down a wall. Pulse the body up an inch and lower back down with control. Repeat 20 times. Then, hold the body low and perform kegels for 10 repetitions. Repeat the whole series 2 more times without standing up all the way.

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