Working out is a huge part of my life. I've been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years, and my goal is to get people up and moving. I just welcomed my first baby, and at this new stage in life, I especially feel the need to help moms-to-be feel stronger, healthier and happier with unique and fun workouts that are safe and effective. Inspired by Bollywood, the moves below, which are part of my new program Bar Bhangra Baby, are easy to follow and can be done at home or added to other workout routines wherever you are.
Just make sure you take all of these exercises at your own pace, but once you start, commit to finishing it all! You will feel 10 times better when you do! Here are the 5 Bollywood-inspired moves that every new moms and moms-to-be should add to their routine.
1. Biceps Curls (you will need lbs weights or bars)
Carrying grocery bags? A 15-pound baby? A 15-pound baby in a 15-pound stroller? Not a problem. With this exercise, you will use lightweight to strengthen your biceps. And you’ll see, it won’t take that long before your arms get strong. Bring your right foot forward, pressing your heel on the floor. Alternate, in a quick motion, from your right to your left foot. While your heels touch the ground, squeeze the 1lb bars into your biceps. The weight is light and allows you to make sure you contract your muscles. Do 3 sets of 32.
2. Leg Lifts
Raise your arms sideways, like the Karate Kid. You can either let your arms stay out, or you can bounce them up and down in tiny up and down movements. As your arms are up, lift your left leg 32 times and squeeze your butt! Do the same thing with the right left. Do three sets of 32 on each side. Make a conscious effort to squeeze your gluts! If you need to hold onto a wall or chair for balance, go for it.
3. Side Raises
Bring your right and left heels alternatively in front of your body. Get in a basic rhythm to help you keep track of the counts you do as you raise your arms sideways. As your heels touch the ground, your arms come up to the side. Again, think of the arm raise in Karate Kid. Do 3 sets of 32. Towards the end of each set, hold your arms up while you keep moving your heels forward. This exercise tones your arms for longer and sexier definition.
Generally in a squat position, you always stand shoulder width apart. However, with pregnancy, I think you should stand wider. Regardless of the width that you choose, make sure your knees are parallel and not sticking out to the side. It will be easier for you to squat down without your belly being in the way. When you squat down, squeeze your hamstrings, and when you come up, squeeze your gluts. Do 3 sets of 32. This is amazing for your legs and will create amazing circulation. You can hold the squat down for 30 seconds and then come back up if you want to challenge yourself!
5. Triceps - you will need lbs weights or bars
Triceps are the hardest muscle to build, but not impossible even when carrying a baby inside of you or after pushing that baby out (make sure you get the green light from your doctor before resuming any physical activity)! Legs are out, at shoulder width. Lean forward and arch your back, and make sure you avoid having a C curve in your back. Arching it will protect your back. As you lean forward, imagine a glass of water being balanced on your back. Then you know your position is good. Your arms are close to you. Extend your arms out and squeeze your biceps. And bring it back in. Think of a hinge - your arms are like hinges. When you do 32 counts of them with 1 lbs weights, then hold the arms out, with your palms facing down and slightly pulse for 10 counts.
Sarina Jain created her dance cardio program, Masala Bhangra, which is available in 22 countries and here in New York at Crunch Gym, PMT Dance Studio and Alvin Ailey.