Training While Pregnant

Plus Sample Workouts!

Greetings Gang!

I’m back with my fourth installment here on FitnessRx For Women. Thanks for following along!

I have had many people ask me if I am still training or lifting weights while I’m pregnant. The answer is yes!

My doctor knew I was active and lifted weight regularly, and when I had my very first appointment she said there was no reason to not continue to lift weights and keep up what I had been doing. I never had to get “cleared” for working out again. Her only request was that I didn’t go harder or with more intensity than I had been. In other words, stay active but don’t push myself over the edge. Pregnancy was not a time for making PR’s :) (personal records). I personally don’t do cardio unless I’m dieting for a show or shoot and trying to lose a few pounds. Pregnancy would be no different. However, if there were days I didn’t feel like lifting or got to the gym with a shortened time to work out, I would sometimes just do incline treadmill work and get my heart rate up a little. Being active is better than not being active at all. Studies have shown that exercising during pregnancy can help moms during labor, too, as your bodies are accustomed to work and your heart is still conditioned.

Over the past few years I’ve trained a few different ways. I’ve done circuits, plyometrics, metabolic training, etc. But my favorite workout, and the old standby I keep coming back to, is the five-day body part split. Why? Because it allows you to focus on the one body part and hit it in many different ways. It also allows more time for the muscles to recover, which is my favorite thing— and we all know muscles need recovery time.

I have definitely had my days where I change the alarm clock to a different time and skip the gym. Hey, sleep is very important when you are growing a little human inside you! So, I don’t always make it to the gym five days a week; sometimes it’s four, or sometimes it’s six. It just depends. My workouts lately have consisted of a comfortable weight at higher reps… just enough to knock out 15 to 20 before burning out.

26-PLUS-WEEKS-INS2Monday: Legs

1. Squats: Medium-stance and wide-stance squats, 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest between sets)
2. Walking Lunges: Keeping weight in heels, 3 sets of 12 (each leg)
3. Leg Press: 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
4. Leg Extensions: (performed with toes in) and leg extensions (performed w/ toes straight), 3 sets of 15-20 reps (1-minute rest)
5. Adductors and Abductors (if time allows): 3 sets of 15-25 reps (1-minute rest)
6. Calves Tri-set: Calf raises on leg press machine or calf raise machine, 4 sets of 15-20 reps (1-minute rest)
7. Lying Hamstring Curls: 3 or 4 sets of 15

If I have extra time on leg day, I like to hit the butt blaster with 30 pounds and go till failure for a few sets.

Tuesday: Chest

1. Incline Bench Press: 5 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
2. Chest Dips: 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
3. Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets of 15-20 reps (1-minute rest)
4. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
5. Cable Crossovers: 3 sets of 15-20 reps (30-second rest)

Wednesday: Back

1. Wide-Grip Pull-ups to Front: 5 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
2. Assisted pull-ups: (I was doing un-assisted before I gained some pregnancy weight, lol) (1-minute rest)
3. Cable Rows: 3 sets of 15
4. High row: 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
5. Stiff-Arm Rope Pulldowns: 3 sets of 15-20 reps (1-minute rest)

Thursday: Shoulders
My shoulders are by far my lacking body part. I try to go heavier with them, and less reps, so they can grow.

1. Lateral Raises: 5 sets of 8 reps (1-minute rest)
2. Bent-Over Laterals 4 sets of 6-8 reps (1-minute rest)
3. Arnold Presses: 4 sets of 8 to 10 (1-minute rest)
4. One-Arm Cable Laterals 3 sets of 15-20 reps (30-second rest)

Friday: Hamstrings/glutes

1. Stiff-Leg Deadlifts: Superset 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
2. Lunges (pressing w/ heels) 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)
3. Plie squats: 3 sets of 15
4. Weighted Bridges: 3 sets of 25
5. Incline treadmill work: 25 minutes on high incline. Slow and squeeze!!

Saturday: Arms
I have never been a fan of working arms. I have always felt like my arms are big, and I’m happy with the amount of muscle I have on them. I don’t work biceps often, and I keep triceps light.

1. Skull-Crushers, 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
2. Close-Grip Bench Dips, 3 or 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1-minute rest)
3. Rope Pushdowns, 4 sets of 15-20 reps (1-minute rest)

Glucose Tolerance Test
26-PLUS-WEEKS-INS3Part of the “fun” that comes along with being at this stage in pregnancy is the Glucose Tolerance Test. In the past, some have considered this a controversial test, but most offices make it mandatory and it’s considered an important part of prenatal care. It’s to test for gestational diabetes or insulin resistance. Here is an article I found to be helpful

I had my test earlier this week. It’s not particularly fun, but for me, it wasn’t as bad as some people have it. I didn’t throw up or anything. There are numerous ways to do the test, but I had the two-hour test. I had to fast for 10 hours prior, which was my least favorite part! Pregnant women don’t like to fast :) Fortunately for me, I was able to schedule a 7:00 a.m test, which meant I could eat up until 9:00 p.m. the night before.

I have always eaten something with protein and a small amount of fat before going to bed, and this night was no different. I had my favorite low-carb meal replacement protein shake with a little bit of natural peanut butter before bed. It keeps me full through the night (most times) but I always wake up hungry by at least 6:00 a.m. My test started at 7:00, and it starts with a fasted blood draw. Then, they give you 50 to 75 grams of glucola, which is a syrupy sweet drink. It’s definitely sweeter than I am used to. There are a few different flavors, but I was offered lemon lime or orange. I went with orange because I was told it was more popular. It tasted like a syrupy orange crush. Shortly after drinking it, I started to feel woozy, almost loopy. I think that was only the sugar hitting my system, because it only lasted about half an hour. They make you sit there for a little over an hour and then they draw your blood again. If things look OK, they will keep you there and draw your blood again at hour two. I am assuming I passed the test because they kept me there the whole time. Being hungry was really the worst part! By 9:30 am, I was out the door with an all-natural protein cookie in my hand, and went to have a real breakfast.

The results will be send to my midwife, and we’ll go over them at my February appointment. Other than that, things are going great! I can see my belly twitch if I look closely now when baby kicks. Tim has tried to feel the baby move, but every time he puts his hand on my belly the kid stops moving! What a little brat :) Hopefully he will be able to feel it soon, I’m definitely far enough into my pregnancy for others to feel it now. Only 13/14 weeks left to go; my third trimester begins soon!

Hope you guys are all having a good week!

Becca Staggs

Becca has lived in Southwest Michigan her entire life. At 32 years old, Becca currently works in Healthcare in the Information Technology field. She first began competing in 2009 and has had success at several local level and national shows. Becca resides with her husband Tim, and they are both personal trainers and wellness coaches— with Becca's continuing education being in Sports Nutrition.

Co-owner of Staggs Fitness since 2009, Becca enjoys helping clients from all walks of life reach their health goals. Tim and Becca are expecting their first baby in May of this year.

Find more of Becca on:

Muscular Development

Her Website
Staggs Fitness Facebook