Pregnancy is not the time to stop working out, rather it’s a time to continue with your workout efforts, just tailored to fit how you are feeling and your growing belly! Throughout my pregnancy, I have continued with my four- to five-times-a-week home circuit workouts that average about 20-30 minutes. Whether I am doing upper or lower body, I am using light weights and higher reps, really focusing on my breath and mind-muscle connection. Ninety percent of my lower body exercises are done with no weight at all and only the use of my body (and baby) weight.
Pregnant or not, try my lower body workout that requires limited equipment and no gym. All you need is a resistance band and kettlebell or dumbbell! Do 15 repetitions of each exercise, then move on to the next exercise with limited rest. Once you have completed all five exercises, take a two- three-minute break, grab a sip of water, and repeat the circuit two to three times.
Gina’s Lower Body Pregnancy Circuit
Start sitting nice and tall on the edge of a chair or bench with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place a resistance band about mid-thigh. Grasp the bench or chair behind you for stability. Drive your knees away from each other forming a “V” with your thighs. Squeeze and hold at the top of the rep for two to three seconds before you slowly bring your knees back to the starting position and repeat movement.
Single Leg Hip Thrusts Off Bench
Start with your back on a bench and feet out in front of you forming a straight line from shoulders to hips. Keep one foot on the ground and extend the opposite food directly out in front of you, in a straight line. Drop your glutes towards the ground, then thrust your hips towards the sky until your shoulders and hips are back in alignment. Squeeze your glutes at the top for two seconds, then repeat movement.
G-Tip: Keep your extended foot as straight as possible with your foot flexed. To modify this movement, feel free to bend your knee.
Start with one foot in front of the other in a lunge position. With your chest out and shoulders back, drop down towards the ground until your knee is a few inches off the ground. Place your weight in the heel of your front foot you as you rise back up to the starting position before repeating the movement.
G-Tip: Use a bench or wall to lightly hold onto for stability, especially as your belly gets bigger. Remember, as you dip down towards the ground, never allow your knee to go over your toe.
Single-leg Kettlebell Deadlift
Start by holding onto the top of a chair or bench for stability. Hold a kettlebell (or dumbbell) in one hand. Stand on one leg— the same side that is holding the kettlebell. While keeping that knee slightly bent, slowly lower your upper body towards the ground by bending at the hip and extending your free leg behind you for balance. Lower your body until you are parallel to the ground, then return to the starting position and repeat the movement.
G-Tip: Feel free to do this exercise with a dumbbell if you do not have a kettlebell. For added stability, especially as your belly gets bigger, allow yourself to touch the ground with your free leg at the top of each rep. Take a few seconds to ground yourself before lowering back down to perform your rep.
Kettlebell Sumo Squat
Place your feet slightly wider than hip distance with your toes pointing outward. Hold a kettlebell with straight arms directly down in between your legs. With your chest out and shoulders back, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a brief second, squeezing your glutes, then exhale and press back up to the starting position before repeating the movement.
G-Tip: Feel free to do this exercise with a dumbbell if you do not have access to a kettlebell. As you press back up to the starting position, focus on pressing up with your heels and remembering to not allow your knees to ever go over your toes.