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At-Home Strength Workout for the First Trimester


For active first-time moms-to-be, one of the first of a long list of questions is: Can I still work out? The short answer is yes. For the most part, with approval from a healthcare provider, a woman can continue doing her normal routine, modifying according to her comfort, energy levels, and growing belly. This movement can help decrease discomfort during pregnancy, ease delivery, and boost mood, says Aimee Nicotera, an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist and AFAA- and ACE-certified group fitness instructor. 

If you’re not sure where to start, try this home workout from certified trainer Anna Victoria. “This is a great workout for the first trimester because it is a low-impact workout you can do from anywhere,” she says. “It focuses on total-body strengthening, including the posterior chain, which is essential in order to counteract a growing belly in pregnancy.” The workout consists of four supersets—exercises performed back to back—which you repeat three times each. Listen to your body and if anything doesn’t feel right, take a break. 

First Trimester Total-Body Workout

Superset 1: Lower Body

Move 1: Bodyweight Good Morning. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Inhale as you hinge at the hips (imagine you’re pointing your glutes to the wall behind you) and keep your core tight and back flat as you lower your torso to be parallel with the ground. Do not lower your torso below parallel. Exhale as you return to the starting position by pushing through your feet and engaging your glutes and hamstrings. Lead with extending your hips instead of simply lifting your upper body, and keep your core tight. Do 15 reps.

Move 2: Bodyweight Squat. Keeping your core tight and your knees in line with toes, squat down as you inhale. As you do, push your knees out while keeping them in line with your ankles to prevent your knees from collapsing in. To stand from the squat, exhale as you push through your heels and squeeze your glutes while preventing your knees from caving in. Do 15 reps.

Repeat this superset three times total, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute between supersets.

Superset 2: Lower Body

Move 1: Stationary Lunge. Stand with feet staggered one in front of the other. Keeping your core tight, inhale as you lower into a lunge, dropping your back knee to right above the ground. Don’t let your front knee cave in and keep your front knee in line with your toes. Exhale back to the starting position. Do 8 reps on each side.

Move 2: Stationary Lunge Pulse. Stand with feet staggered one in front of the other. Keeping your core tight, inhale as you lower into a lunge, dropping your back knee to right above the ground. Don’t let your front knee cave in and keep your front knee in line with your toes. In this position, pulse up and down 10 times as you breathe. Return to standing and repeat on the opposite side.

Repeat this superset three times total, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute between supersets.

Superset 3: Upper Body

Move 1: Knee Push-Up. Come to kneel on your knees. Walk your hands out until your body is in a straight line from head to knees and your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core engaged and back straight, inhale as you lower your upper body toward the floor. Go as low as you can, then exhale to push back up to the starting position. Do 5 reps.

Move 2: Modified Jumping Jack. Stand with one foot out to the side and arms above your head. Bring both feet together and arms down to your sides in a slight squat. As you return to standing, bring your opposite foot out and your arms back above your head. Do 10 total reps, breathing continuously throughout the movement.

Repeat this superset three times total, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute between supersets.

Superset 4: Upper Body

Move 1: Incline Commando. Place hands on a raised platform (such as a bench or the edge of a couch) and walk feet out until your body is in a straight line and your core is engaged. Lower your arms one at a time into a forearm plank position. Then return one hand at a time back to high plank. Keep your torso as stable as possible throughout. (Placing your feet in a widened stance will help with this core and torso stability.) Do 8 reps, breathing continuously throughout the movement.

Move 2: Modified Incline Burpee. Stand in front of a platform (such as a bench or the edge of a couch). Squat down and place your hands on the platform, then step back one foot at a time so your body is in a plank position, straight line from head to heels. One at a time, bring each foot immediately forward so you are back in a squat. Return to standing. Do 10 reps, breathing continuously throughout the move and moving as fluidly as you can.

Repeat this superset three times total, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute between supersets.



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