If you’ve got a baby on the way, you’re going to be doing some heavy lifting. Sure, at first the little one may not even weigh as much as a bag of flour, but pretty soon that newborn grows into an infant, then a toddler, then a kid. And you’re the gal that gets to carry that growing person around. But should you reel in your strength-training regimen while that baby is still cooking?
You don’t have to, says Michelle Mason (above), the general manager at NYC’s super-hot women’s-only gym, Uplift Studios. Mason, now eight months pregnant, is living proof, and has the fabulously toned muscles to show for it. “You'll need to make certain modifications,” she says, “for example, you are not supposed to perform exercises while laying flat on your back as you progress into your second trimester.” But it’s not just about how hot your pregnant bod will look when you’ve got a regular strength-training routine. “Research has shown that women who remain active during their pregnancies can have easier deliveries and recoveries from birth,” adds Mason.
To show how easy it can be to give your strength-training workout the old change-up, Well Rounded NY is teaming up with Uplift and Fitbump for an evening of exercise, fitness fashion, healthy food and delicious mocktails this Wednesday, Aug. 14, from 6-8 p.m. Get your sweat on, then do your body good with some snacking and sipping at Uplift’s beautiful Flatiron studio. Sign up here.
If you’re jonesing for some action before the event, check out Mason’s tips on how to adjust a strength-training workout for your new pregnant condition.
Can you weight-train while pregnant?
Absolutely. Weight training is incredibly important for all women, and during pregnancy is no exception. After all, in a few months you'll be lifting heavy strollers, diaper bags and carrying a baby around -- you need to be strong for that! You should aim to complete two to three strength training workouts per week.
Are there areas of your body you can safely weight train during pregnancy?
You can safely work the muscles of the arms, back, chest and legs, doing most of the same exercises that you did before you were pregnant.
What about exercises you’d caution against?
Abdominal exercises where you're laying flat on your back should be avoided, as well as exercises that involve deep spinal rotation/twisting, as this can contribute to diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles (some separation is normal, due to the relaxing abdominal muscles and growing uterus; however, exacerbating this condition can make healing much harder). Planks and bird-dog exercises are generally safe for working the abdominals.
What strength workouts/exercises in this category are particularly beneficial for a pregnant woman?
Squatting is really beneficial for pregnant women; all pregnant women should perform exercises like squats and lunges to build lower body strength, which can really help during labor. Strengthening the back is also very important; focusing on exercises like standing or seated rows and reverse flys will help counteract the postural changes that happen during pregnancy (shoulders rounding forward due to heavier breasts, and lordosis of the lower back due to the weight of the baby changing your center of gravity). These exercises will help beyond pregnancy as well, especially when lifting your baby off of the floor or out of their crib.