Exercises with Free Weights:
*Free weights (dumbbells, barbells) are a great way to target specific muscle groups while also giving you the advantage of versatility in the way you move the weights, using more muscles to help stabilize the weights during various movements, and allowing you specificity your exercises to real life movements. You can perform various functional movements with dumbbells that will help you during pregnancy and afterward while taking care of yourself and your baby!
*Safety Tip: Keep your torso straight as you perform the movements in each exercise, do not bend your spine forward or to the side as you lift your arms up, and do not swing your arms quickly (lower the weight if you cannot lift the dumbbells without using your torso for assistance)
Exercises in Standing:
*When exercising in standing you need to make sure you are engaging your core by bringing your bellybutton up and in, tucking in your tailbone, and squeezing your glutes. If you feel that you are not able to control your abdominal muscles, your balance, or stability, then you should perform exercises in standing. Once you feel comfortable with your form, you can progress to tall kneel or physioball exercises.
Exercises in Tall Kneel:
*When exercising in tall kneel, you are adding another element of balance, core stability, and pelvic strength to your exercise. Find your NEUTRAL SPINE in tall kneel by tucking your pelvis in, and ACTIVATE YOUR ABDOMINALS by pulling your bellybutton in toward your spine and up toward your nose.
Exercises with a Therapy Ball (Physioball):
*When using a therapy ball, you add another element to your exercises. Sitting on a therapy ball while using free weights helps you work on your balance, stability, core strength, and pelvic strength. Make sure you are sitting on the ball with a NEUTRAL SPINE, your feet are shoulder width apart, and you ACTIVATE YOUR ABDOMINALS by pulling your bellybutton in toward your spine and up toward your nose.
Expand for Exercise Pictures and Instructions
Elina Skripochnik PT, DPT, CSCS
Elina is a Physical Therapist with experience in women's health and pediatrics. She aims to educate women on the importance of becoming and staying active during pregnancy, as well as to provide safe and easy exercises that can be done throughout pregnancy and beyond.