6 Moves: 1 Total Body Prenatal Workout

Exercising while pregnant can vary from day to day. You might feel energetic one day and lethargic the next. Your body is continually changing, and you might sometimes feel like you have journeyed down the rabbit hole–where down is up and up is down and everything is slightly “off”.  So, when exercising, you probably want the biggest bang for your buck. You want exercises that help you feel better during pregnancy, help during labor, and help you get back on your feet again postpartum. You also want to cover your bases as efficiently as possible. Try these 6 simple exercises to give you a total body workout as efficiently as possible!

Keys to Getting the Most Out of Your Exercises

The key is to focus on exercises that are both compound (meaning: involving multiple joints and muscle groups) and functional (meaning: relating to everyday life activities).  Also, during pregnancy, it is especially important to incorporate the core in all exercises.  Why is that? Because a strong core alleviates pregnancy aches and pains, makes it far easier for you to push your baby out, and helps you regain your core strength much faster afterward!  Pretty nice, right?

6 Moves for a Total Body Prenatal Workout

The following 6 moves require only a very simple, inexpensive Superband.  Complete this circuit 2-3 times, aiming for 10-20 repetitions of each exercise, and BOOM: Full-body workout complete!

1. Squat to Superband Row

  1. Wrap the Superband chest-height around a pole, tree, or any very sturdy object.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight distributed evenly throughout your feet.
  3. Inhale as you reach your hips back as if you were sitting in a chair–try to get your thighs parallel to the ground–keeping arms straight and back and core engaged.
  4. Exhale as you use glutes to stand back up and pull the band toward your chest, keeping your elbows a few inches from the sides of your body.
Technique Tips:
  • Focus on your back muscles as you pull. Your elbows should not go past your back, as this puts extra strain on your shoulders.
  • Attach the band higher for more of a lat pulldown or lower for a low row.
  • As you progress through your pregnancy, widen your squat stance and turn your toes slightly out.

2. Superband Pallof Press

 

  1. Wrap the Superband chest-height around a pole, tree, or any very sturdy object.
  2. Stand with your side to the sturdy object, feet slightly wider than hip-width and knees slightly bent, and hold the Superband in both hands, chest-height, arms bent to chest. You should be far enough away that you feel slight tension/core engaging in the band when you hold it like this.
  3. Engage your glutes, legs, and core and keep them engaged throughout the exercise.
  4. Exhale as you press the band straight out in front of you, fully extending your arms. You should feel your core engaging.
  5. Hold for several seconds, then bend elbows to bring hands back to chest.
  6. Repeat for 6-8 reps, then switch sides.
Technique Tips:
  • To add some extra core challenge, try this exercise tall-kneeling, half-kneeling, or split-stance.
  • Keep shoulder blades back and down to avoid straining shoulders and upper back muscles.

3. Bridge with Superband Pullover

 

  1. Attach Superband to a low pole or other sturdy object.
  2. Lie flat on the floor on your back with the Superband behind you, knees bent and feet on the floor, about hip-width apart.
  3. Hold the Superband in both hands, arms straight to the sky and palms either facing away from you or facing each other, whichever feels more comfortable.
  4. Exhale as you simultaneously:
    • Press through your feet and use your glutes to lift your hips.
    • Pull Superband straight down to hips.
  5. Inhale and return to start. That’s one rep.
Technique Tips:
  • Keep core and glutes engaged throughout the entire exercise to avoid strain on your back.
  • Keep shoulder blades back and down.
  • Keep knees in line with hips throughout the entire exercise.

4. Reverse Lunges

  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Inhale as you step backward with your left leg, keeping your back heel up, and lower your hips by bending both knees to about 90-degrees, stopping just before your left knee touches the ground.
  3. Exhale as you push through both feet to return your left leg to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do all reps on one leg, then switch legs–or alternate legs.
Technique Tips:
  • Be sure front knee stays directly over the ankle (not veering forward over the toe, and also not veering to the outside or inside of the foot).
  • Keep weight evenly distributed between both legs as you bend your knees.
  • Keep glutes and core engaged and your upper body straight throughout the exercise.
  • For an additional challenge, try holding dumbbells by your sides for added weight. Or try adding in a bicep curl with those dumbbells by curling your arms up as you straighten your legs and lowering them back down when stepping back into the lunge.

5. Superband Side Step Squat to Overhead Press

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart on Superband and hold Superband in both hands, resting the band on your palms with palms facing outward. Elbows should be bent and arms should be close to your sides.
  2. Inhale as you step to the right and squat, keeping arms where they are.
  3. Exhale as you bring left foot in and stand up, pushing Superband overhead by fully extending arms. That’s one rep.
Technique Tips:
  • Keep core and glutes engaged throughout the exercise to avoid arching the lower back during the overhead press.
  • Remember to push your butt back as you side-step squat, to avoid the knees moving over the ankles.

6. Tricep Dips

  1. Position your hands shoulder-width apart, elbows pointing straight back, on a bench or stable chair.
  2. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your knees bent at 90-degrees.
  3. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to avoid hyperextending your elbow joints.
  4. Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows to about 90-degrees, lowering your body to the ground. Keep your back and butt close to the bench.
  5. Exhale as you press down into the bench to straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to avoid hyperextending your elbow joints. That’s one rep.
Technique Tips:
  • Keep your back and butt close to the bench throughout the exercise to avoid excess shoulder strain.
  • Keep your shoulders down throughout the exercise.
  • The farther you walk your feet out (less knee bend), the more challenging it is.