An effective first trimester pregnancy workout to target key muscles for pregnancy. 6 great exercises to strengthen your hips, back, butt, and core to ensure a strong, healthy, and happy pregnancy.
First Trimester Pregnancy Workout
- Plie Squats
- Push ups
- Side Plank
- Star Lunges
- Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide with pictures, videos, and descriptions of each of these exercises for a great workout during your pregnancy.
Eliminate guesswork and confusion and start seeing results.
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First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS!
I assume if you’re reading this post there will be a pretty significant life change for you in the next 6–9 months.
Truth be told, someone near and dear to us just announced that she was pregnant (NOT my wife) and was asking about some workouts that would be safe for her to do.
I told her that I would come up with something for her and voila – here we are.
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As a caveat to this workout – these are exercises that should be very safe for the majority of women in their first trimester.
Of course, there is that small percentage of those who may not respond well to these exercises.
You are encouraged to ask your doctor/OBGYN if working out is appropriate for you at every stage during your pregnancy.
Now let’s get to work.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY
Staying healthy and exercising during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for you and your baby. Exercise will help you feel good throughout your pregnancy as you get moving (even with morning sickness).
Exercising during pregnancy will help you to build strength to prepare you for carrying more pregnancy weight, regulate your weight gain, improve your mood and sleep, and get you in shape as you prepare for childbirth.
WHAT EXERCISES ARE SAFE DURING THE FIRST TRIMESTER?
Pregnancy is an important time to include exercise as appropriate, but you need to set some new limits to your regular routines to make sure you are being safe and careful.
During the first trimester, the most important rule for exercise is to pay attention to your energy and make sure you are not over-doing it.
If you are new to exercising, start out with a low level of exertion at 10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes per day about 3 to 5 days per week.
Low-impact exercise during pregnancy is best such as yoga, walking, swimming, and light strength training. Now isn’t the time to push yourself, make sure you stop when you are tired.
If you are weight training, avoid maneuvers with weight held over your belly or moves where you are lying on your back.
At the beginning of pregnancy, you can safely continue most exercise you have been previously doing. During the second trimester as your pregnancy progresses, you may need to make some tweaks.
Stairs, jogging, even jumping jacks should still be okay at this point in the game. Pick your favorite and rock it out for about 3-5 minutes.
Great for the thighs and butt, but kick on the hip external rotators with the “toes out” position and we’ve got a great exercise for your SI joint as well.
- Stand with feet spread wide and toes pointing out. Keep hands in front of you or on your hips.
- With chest and head up, bend at the hips and knees to lower down as if sitting or doing a plie. Keep your knees just over your toes.
- Lower until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Straighten and stand up.
Push Ups (modified if necessary)
One of my all-time favorite at-home exercises. Remember to check your form – back straight and keep you stomach sucked in.
- Come to the ground in push up position- place palms and toes on the floor, with arms straight (or rest knees on the floor for a modified version)
- Keep back neutral and flat.
- Drop chest until it comes close to touching the ground.
- Raise back up into starting position.
Great exercise for the obliques; kick on the transverse abdominis (probably one of the most important muscles in your abdomen) by sucking in your stomach and flexing it tight.
- Lay down on one side and lift up with the same side elbow and foot touching the ground, creating a straight line through your body.
- Lift with your side muscles and hold.
30 seconds each side
Repeated three times and then on to circuit 2.
Try to hit the 12, 3, and 6 positions with the right leg and then the 12, 9, and 6 positions with the left. That counts as one rep.
- Start on one foot and lunge straight forward.
- Next, lunge straight to the side.
- Lunge straight back.
- Come back to center and repeat with the opposite side.
7 reps on each side
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
Remember to keep your head up, bend at your hips, keep your back flat, butt tight, and stabilize while pulling with your arms.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing you.
- Bend your knees ever so slightly. Bend at the waist and fold your torso forward, keeping your back straight until it is just above parallel with the floor.
- Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells toward you until they almost touch your sides.
- Slowly straighten your arms and repeat.
Probably my favorite for the lower back and SI joint. Again, first trimester (and even up through the second) the belly should still be enough under control to make this one possible.
- Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Use the muscles in your lower back and butt to bring your hips straight up.
- Slowly lower.
Repeated 3 times.
Congratulations, You totally nailed it! By doing this workout regularly (2-4 times per week) throughout the first (and into the second) trimester you should maintain strong muscles and be on your way to a healthy pregnancy.
Looking for more great workouts safe for a first trimester?
Here are some low-impact workouts that should be right up your alley.
This is great! Thank you! Any recommendation for an exercise that is similar to a push up but doesn’t put excess strain on wrists?
Hi Tiffany! Most often when push ups strain your wrists it’s because of the extension motion from putting your palms on the floor. You can try to do them on fists instead of hands or (my preferred method) grab some dumbbells and actually do your push ups on those. This helps keep your wrists in a more neutral position and is typically more comfortable. Hope that helps!