Check out these lovelies busting their … err… humps? (Inappropriate I know but so many puns popped into my head while writing this).
Of course they’re not really busting their humps. They are moving about the gym, keeping their bodies strong, fit and healthy and feeling great mentally.
Courtney and Amanda are both only a handful of weeks away from bundle delivery but continue to impress me with their commitment to our “maternity classes”, as we’ve affectionately dubbed them.
Training while pregnant is a topic I’ve been careful to avoid in the past. As I’ve not been pregnant I feel unqualified to comment. It also feels a bit taboo. Kind of like when you throw your two bobs worth into a conversation about parenting when you don’t have kids. You quickly learn not to prod that particular beast.
Anyway, I may not have been pregnant but I am gathering a lot of experience training pregnant clients and together with these two first-time mums-to-be, I feel like we’re learning a lot together.
Mostly we’re learning that guidelines are just that, guidelines. The most important mantra during this time needs to be “listen to your body”.
Be mindful of the guidelines but also try things out for yourself because what feels uncomfortable for someone else, may feel fine for you.
Guidelines around not lying supine, lightening off loads and scaling back intensity tend to happen naturally as you progress through trimesters.
We tried out an incline bench press this week which ended up being a nice pressing alternative and felt fine for both ladies. However, others may feel light-headed upon rising and if so, should consider this a sign to discontinue this exercise. Again, listen to your body.
In general, we’ve also avoided abdominal work to minimise the risk of diastasis recti and we’ve limited dynamic or impactful movements, other than when supported, as was the case with these TRX sprinter starts. This movement offered the opportunity for a small hop but still within the support of the TRX handles.
We haven’t performed dangerous movements that could result in falling and we’ve reduced intensity and weights along the way. Both girls know they could probably push themselves harder but also know now is not the time to be doing so.
Here’s a few exercises we’ve found to be safe, effective and pregnancy friendly:
Cardio: Spin bike, boxing, step-ups, swimming and general circuit training.
Pressing: Incline bench press, standing press variations, push-ups (using a raised bench), dips or other triceps exercises are fine.
Pulling: TRX rows, banded or assisted pull-ups, kettlebell swings, single-arm dumbbell snatches or cleans, (Courtney still likes jumping pull-ups!), curls.
Legs: All squat variations, walking lunges, step-ups.
Deadlifts: Have been okay in earlier stages. As the belly grows, they can be performed using a kettlebell.
Again, it’s all very individual and what feels good for one may feel uncomfortable for another so just find an alternative.
You don’t have to cocoon yourself away for nine months but you also don’t need to look upon your pregnancy as a time to improve your fitness. Rather, think of it as a time to maintain it.