strength training modifications

After finding out I was pregnant, I wanted to try to keep my workouts pretty much the same as they were, just taken down a notch.  Since I have been working out regularly for about 8 years now, I figured there was really no problem with me continuing to run and strength train the way I had been.  And luckily for me, my doctor totally agreed with me.

In my opinion, pregnancy is the time in your life where you should be at your healthiest.  Sure, the first trimester brings challenges with morning sickness, exhaustion, etc., making it much more difficult to eat healthy food (ew, spinach) and get daily workouts in.  But, I truly feel that keeping up with regular workouts can help combat some of the morning sickness and fatigue.

I’ve already talked about running during pregnancy, so I thought I would talk a little about strength training.  I have about 10 books on pregnancy fitness, but honestly, I haven’t looked at a single one.  To me, the workouts in them are too easy for  me and I still want to challenge myself a little bit but not push myself to my limit.  But, body weight stuff constantly isn’t going to keep the strength I am hoping to keep while pregnant.

Back in February after finding out about my pregnancy, I actually started doing CrossFit Mom.  I used to do CrossFit religiously a few years ago – it is challenging but also short and to the point.  My problem is that I get burnt out on it easily.  Doing the same 2 or 3 moves over and over for 20 minutes just gets monotonous and boring.  I did see a lot of results with it in the past, so I thought I would give it another try.  CrossFit Mom lasted all of 2 weeks.  I just really felt I shouldn’t be doing 45 pound Cleans while pregnant.  I think that’s pushing it a bit too much.

So, I am sticking to a traditional weight training routine.  I strength train 2 to 3 times per week, depending on my now busy schedule, hitting every major muscle group (legs, chest, back, and abs) along with some secondary muscles (triceps, biceps, shoulders) if there is time.  However, with pregnancy comes modifications.

  • The big thing I was worried about was exercising on my back.  Once your belly starts getting bigger, the baby can compress your aorta which decreases the blood flow not only to your brain but also to your baby.  I was happy to find out that I could exercise on my back up until 20 weeks.  After that, all exercise must be sitting, standing, or on an incline.  So no more bench presses, crunches, pilates, or traditional yoga after 20 weeks.
  • I am lifting less weight than I normally would.  I am still doing 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps of each exercise, but lifting about 80% of what I could be lifting.  So I am still feeling “the burn”, but not straining or struggling to lift the weight.
  • Since most ab exercise are done lying on your back, I have pretty much stopped doing most of the ab work I traditionally do.  But, even though I am not trying to get a six pack, I still believe it is important to have a strong core, especially during pregnancy when you are carrying so much more weight in that area leading to back strains and such.  So I am doing more planks and hanging leg raises, along with good mornings (yes, that is actually the name of the exercise) to help strengthen my back.  Plus, I am still running and need my core to be strong so I don’t have any muscle imbalances.

I am not going to share what exercises I have been doing since they change every time I lift, but they are pretty traditional strength training exercises.  You can look at my dailymile and see the exercises if you’re interested. 

I am still feeling fit and strong even with my workouts taken down a notch.  And even though it’s a bit early to start thinking of my post-baby body since I’m still just barely showing, we just scored a deal on P90X that I’ve been dying to do for over a year and can’t wait to be able to do while Baby Bug naps in the fall/winter!  I think it will be a great jump start to getting my body back to what it was.

  • i am just in love with your and emily’s (daily garnish) pregnancy posts! you guys definitely make me hope baby-making time comes soon for me! 🙂
    sarah (sarah learns) recently posted..home sweet home