How the fit mom-to-be stays in shape during pregnancy
You may think the ab-centric, on-the-mat practice is a no-go while you're pregnant, but Keibler and her Pilates instructor, Nonna Gleyzer, beg to differ. While it's not always easy to find a prenatal Pilates class, the workout actually makes sense for preggos: Though some standard moves need to be modified or skipped, Pilates focuses on alignment, flexibility and building a super-strong core and lower body. "It doesn't seem like a strenuous workout, but you see the effects and get toned so quickly," says Keibler, who's been doing four one-hour-long sessions with Gleyzer per week since January. "And if a movement doesn't feel right, I stop—I always listen to my body. It's the best doctor!"
One thing we love about Gleyzer's Pilates philosophy (shown here): She balances challenging strength-building moves with replenishing stretches, as you'll see in the following slides. "After my first session, I was hooked—my body felt incredible, my posture was better and I was even walking better," says Keibler. Sold? Grab a mat, resistance band and playground ball. Then, do each move in order to complete 1 circuit. Aim for 3 circuits—resting for a couple of minutes in between—3 or 4 times per week.
Saw Stretch Works lower abs, back and hamstrings
Sit upright with legs extended and spread wider than the mat, arms straight out to sides (A). Twist upper body gently toward the right and down, bringing left pinkie to outside of right foot, right arm extended behind you and head toward right knee (B). Pull back up to start position and repeat twist on left side to complete 1 rep. Do 3 reps. Tip: Inhale as you sit tall; exhale as you "saw" against your foot.
Heel-Toe Bridge Works glutes, inner thighs and calves
Lie on your back with knees bent and lift hips, then place ball between knees, squeezing it with your thighs, glutes tight. Flex feet, going up on heels (A), then lower toes and raise heels, going up on toes (B). Do 10 heel-toe reps.
Should you lie on your back?
Though the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says exercising on your back (e.g., bench press) is a no-no after the first trimester, many trainers (including Gleyzer) say it's OK if you've checked with your doctor, you do it for less than 5 minutes at a time and you're feeling fine. For this move, you'll only be on your back for a few seconds, but if it feels weird or you'd just rather not, skip it. And a reminder: If you ever feel pain or dizziness during a workout, stop immediately.
Chest Expansion Works triceps, chest and shoulders
Stand with a resistance band under the balls of your feet, palms facing back and gently supporting handles. Without hunching your shoulders, press and extend hands straight past your butt (A) and turn head to right (B), back to center, then to left, then back to center. Continue turning head from right to left 3 more times, keeping hands extended. Tip: Turning your head keeps your neck from tensing up.
Thigh Scorcher Works quads and hamstrings
Sit upright with knees bent, legs together and hands behind you on mat, fingers facing away from you. Lift right leg slightly off the ground, keeping knees glued together and right foot flexed (A). Lift right foot to fully extend leg (B) and lower back to just off mat. Lift and lower for 10 seconds, then repeat with opposite leg. Tip: Tighten your core to prevent your back from arching.
Side Kick Works calves and upper thighs
Lie on right side, propping up head with right hand, extending legs slightly in front of you with left leg hovering above right (A). Lift left leg straight up in the air, pointing toe (B). Flex foot as you return leg to starting position. Repeat 5 times, then switch to left side. Tip: Stack those hips —don 't let the left one move toward your ribs.