Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prenatal Weights and Pilates Workout

If you've been reading this blog for a while, or even if you've just stopped by, you might have noticed that I've been doing a prenatal pilates and weights workout since the beginning of my pregnancy.  I try to do it 2-3 times a week and I've had some really good results with it.  I decided I'd explain the workout in detail here so that anyone interested in doing something like this can get some ideas.

Two important things to note:
1. I am not a doctor so I cannot recommend this workout for every pregnant woman or claim it is safe for all.  I believe it is safe for ME because I have been doing it since the very beginning of my pregnancy, I've done quite a bit of reading and research on the subject, and I listen closely to my body, modifying moves as needed.

2. As I just said, I've been doing this workout for MOST of my pregnancy.  So while I am currently at 33 weeks, I would not recommend starting this at 33 weeks.  Please keep that in mind.  That said, I believe this workout to be very conservative as far as prenatal workouts go and I am never sore afterward or the next day, nor do I feel any pain or discomfort while doing these exercises.

This workout usually takes between 30-35 minutes depending on how long I hold my stretches and how much dancing I do between exercises.

Things required or recommended:
  • yoga mat
  • free weights
  • a sturdy chair or coffee table
  • rockin' tunes
Let's get started with weights!

Pushups and Tricep Dips
2 x 16 girly push-ups (knee instead of feet)
2 x 16 triceps dips (I use the coffee table, but a sturdy chair will also work).  Place feet further out for more difficulty.

Bicep Curls
1 x 30 bicep curls (Because I use heavier weights, I alternate for the first 20 and then for the last 10 I lift both at the same time)

Squats with overhead press
16 squats, lifting weights overhead as you come up.  Sink back like you are sitting down, don't let knees go passed your feet.  Only go as deep as is comfortable.
8 solo squats (solo means I'm not lifting my weights at this time)
16 solo pulse squats
8 solo overhead press
8 solo pulse presses (alternate arms if too difficult)

Plea Squats with overhead tricep press
16 squats, straighten arms above head as you come up
16 solo pulse squats
8 solo tricep presses
8 solo pulse presses

(I hold light weights in my hands for these)
16 lunges - step back into a lunge and then lift knee as you come up.
8 pulse lunges
Do this for each leg

Upright Rows
1 x 16 upright rows

Now for pilates!

100s (I breathe in 4 count/out 4 count as I pump my arms with my shoulders lifted off the ground and knees bent. I straighten my legs for some reps, bending them again before I stop this exercise).  If you are uncomfortable lying flat, stack pillows or blankets behind you to help you sit up.

Change leg positions to adjust difficulty levels.  (I only used the third picture during my first trimester.)

Leg Circles
1 x 16 clockwise
1 x 16 counter clockwise
Repeat for each leg
(Same rule goes for lying flat on your back for this one.  Listen to your doctor and your body.)

Single leg stretch
Lifting my shoulders off the ground, I alternate legs x 20 (10 for each leg).  Keep movements slow and smooth.

Leg Series
Lying on one side, scoot your body to the back of your yoga mat, with your legs moved to the front.  Head resting on arm or up on one elbow, whatever is most comfortable.  Arrange pillows as needed (I don't currently use any as I don't think they lend much support during this series).

Rotate knee up (facing the ceiling), raising your leg as high as is comfortable.  Point as you lift, flex as you lower x 16
Rotate knee back to the front (facing straight out in front of you) and pulse up x 8
Small forward circle x 8 (size of dinner plate)
Small backward circle x 8
Knee to chest (or as close as is comfortable) x 8
Touching your toes to the knee of the leg on the floor, lift the knee x 8
Straighten leg out in front of you, bending knee back and forth x 8
Keep leg straight out in front of you and pulse x 8
Bring leg back parallel to the leg on the floor, lift that leg, and scissor for 16 count

I like to do the butterfly stretch here before I move on to the other side, doing it again after I work the other leg.

Lift right arm, left leg (don't let them touch the floor) x 16.  If balance is hard at first, just do the leg.  Don't lock out supporting arm.
Pulse x 8
Repeat for the left arm, right leg

Child's pose stretch with knees wide so your belly can sink between them.

My last move is the mermaid stretch.  Pulling both ankles to one side, I hold them with one hand and lean toward them with the other.  This feels really good.  I straighten up and stretch once more before doing the other side.  It looks like the picture below, only my overhead arm is straight, not bent at the elbow (although I imagine either way is fine.

And that's it!  I even have a soundtrack I always use that keeps me pumped up throughout the workout (hence the dancing between exercises). 

Finger Eleven - Paralyzer
Cranberries - Promises
The Killers - Read my Mind
Cascada - Ready for Love
The Killers - Somebody Told Me
Newsboys - Something Beautiful
Kanye West - Stronger

This workout is modified from the prenatal weights and pilates video I've been using for most of my pregnancy.  I've just added and dropped exercises per my preference and comfort during my pregnancy.

Did you do certain exercises during your pregnancy that made you feel good?  Please share them with us!

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