As a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) devotee, one of the first topics I Googled after finding out I was pregnant was advice on maintaining my fitness and health routine over the next 9-plus months. To my disappointment, I was unable to find the advice and guidance I was searching for, let alone local classes in Miami catering to pregnant women.
I just couldn’t fathom going 3 trimesters without the mental reward I’d grown accustomed to with strength and HIIT training.
Thankfully, I was introduced to Scott Johnson at B-Fit, who has expert knowledge of specialty fitness needs for pregnant women. B-Fit specializes in small group and individualized programming, led by experienced exercise physiologists, who emphasize proper movement patterns to promote health.
I met up with him for a session to focus on modifying my typical workout, ensuring that I’m keeping myself and my baby healthy.
Here are some of Scott’s tips.
5 Exercises to Avoid:
Don’t exercise to max heart rate. It’s fine to elevate your heart rate but you don’t want to keep it elevated during the entire workout. Rather incorporate rest intervals into your routine as a way to properly monitor your heart rate.
No more crunches! Or in technical terms, flexion and rotation exercises are off-limits. The day will come when physically you just can’t do a crunch with a pregnant belly. But it’s also advised to avoid elongating or stretching your core. There are more effective ways to target your mid-section and work all 32 ab muscles, including the deep muscles you will rely on for labor, delivery, and recovery.
Avoid overhead pressing. This causes to much strain on your abdominal cavity. Instead, choose different planes of motion for presses. Or if going overhead, alternate reps to reduce pressure on your belly. However, non-loading overhead movements are fine and great for stretches and mobility.
Put impact activities on hiatus. More important for later in pregnancy, but jumping and jerking motions like jumping jacks or burpees are not recommended. Also, avoid running during this time due to the constant impact on the joints. If you were a runner before pregnancy, be mindful of your running turf and how that is making your joints feel. And don’t try to go for any new PRs.
Modify weight activity in a supine position. Exercises where you are on your back, or a supine position should be avoided due to the risk of dizziness, nausea or a drop-in blood pressure. With exercises like presses, consider positioning the bench at an incline.
5 Recommended Exercises or Modifications:
Lunges or range of motion exercises. As your belly begins to grow, your body is learning a new center of gravity, so focusing on stability exercises are encouraged. And as joints begin to loosen and your back begins to feel the impact of carrying new weight, range of motion exercises will help keep you flexible and steady. Lunges are a great example of an exercise to promote this type of training.
Squats or exercises where you are grounded. Trying to steady yourself with your new pregnancy body may require a break from those box jumps and a new love of grounded positions like squats. Squats are also a great way to safely and effectively weight train during pregnancy.
Weighted carries (Farmers carries). Simple, yet effective, weighted carries or asymmetrical carries (weight on one side of the body) are great for building overall strength and training your core. These will also prepare you for holding your baby, ensuring your body is strong on both sides to avoid uneven motor patterns that sometimes develop from favoring one side of your body.
Paloff holds and Paloff presses. This is the ultimate for core strengthening when you have that baby bump. For Paloff holds, hook a resistance band around an anchor point. Grab onto the band with both hands, step away from the anchor creating resistance and hold your arms out straight in front of you. And for the press, same position but press your hands out front, rather than keeping them straight.
Pushups at an angle. If you love pushups like I do, it was probably a disappointment when you realized that your belly required you to modify. During pregnancy, look to do push-ups at an angle, rather than straight on and you can receive the same benefits, but in a safer manner for you and your baby.
During our session, I confided in Scott, sharing that adjusting my mindset from pushing myself to do better was one of the harder modifications I had to make. His most impactful advice to me was to listen to my body, put ego aside, and quit trying to outdo others in the gym or PRs. Frankly, I’ve already won because I’m training while pregnant and keeping up with my fitness routine.
If you are pregnant and looking to keep your workout routine steady, visit B-Fit for more information.