This cycle of Mommy workouts is designed for women in the last six to eight weeks of their pregnancy. This can be a challenging time to keep up with physical activity. Your baby is experiencing rapid growth, and that means you are too. You might also be distracted with all the preparations and anticipation that tends to settle in at this stage.
As you can see in the videos and photos, I was in this stage of pregnancy while developing these workouts. I’ve combined several elements that were particularly helpful for me between 34 and 40 weeks:
- Strength and Conditioning: Primarily with the use of kettlebells and bodyweight exercises
- Practical, Functional Movement: Particularly in the form of long hikes and movement “challenges” that will help you move better on an everyday basis.
- Labor Preparation Exercises: Exercises to help with fetal positioning, strengthen the abdominal muscles, and build lower body endurance to prepare for the marathon of birth.
- Stretching and Mobility Work: Exercises to ease aches and pains that tend to crop up during this time
- Yoga and Meditation: Time set aside for you to collect yourself mentally and physically, by linking breath and movement
The strength and conditioning workouts tend to be short and simple and should usually take no longer than thirty minutes. That means you should exert as much effort as you can during the workouts – without overdoing it, of course. Toward the end of the cycle, you’ll notice an emphasis on walking and hiking, with a weekly long walk or hike. This is one of the best ways to prepare your body for labor. Feel free to jog or run as you feel comfortable during these sessions.
I’ve also included a weekly challenge. The challenges aren’t necessarily things you’ll be doing in the gym, but are ways to move better and more mindfully throughout the day. Not only will quality movement prevent a lot of pregnancy issues like sciatica and low back pain, but it will also translate into your workouts.
Enjoy this cycle of workouts and the last stage of your pregnancy.
Week 2, Day 1
A. Workout #2: My Toddler Won’t Take a Nap
5 Rounds, 10 reps of each exercise (exercises with barbell/dumbbell/kettlebells also listed):
- Toddler Deadlift/Deadlift
- Piggyback Squats/Back Squat
- Piggyback Lunges/Rack Lunges
- Toddler Thruster/Thruster
- “Hipster” Squat/Goblet Squat
- Bicep Curls
(No rest between exercises, 1 min. rest between rounds)
B. Mommy Challenge, Week 2: Loaded Carries
I love loaded carries, especially for moms. Whether this is Baby #1 or Baby #8, you need to condition your upper body to be hauling around a little one. Your challenge for this week is simple: do five minutes of loaded carries every day. If you’re not sure what loaded carries are, read this article.
I recommend using a kettlebell, rock, or sandbag for the carries. You can also just carry a heavy object you have lying around your house or an older baby or toddler if you happen to have other children at home. Although you’re welcome to do double carries (for example, a farmer’s walk with two kettlebells), getting used to unilateral movement translates perfectly into hauling around a little one – unless you’re expecting twins, I suppose.
Choose a weight you can carry for one minute, and do five rounds of the following sequence every day this week:
- 1 minute Carry
- 30 sec. Rest
That’s it! Here are some examples of a few weighted carries I like.
Rack Carry with Rock
Use both hands for support if needed, or carry with one hand. The awkwardness of the rock adds a challenge.
Rack Carry with Kettlebell
Keep the kettlebell in close to your body. This one is also great for your grip.
Kettlebell Suitcase Carry
No better training for hauling in groceries than the suitcase carry. Keep your spine erect and use the deep core muscles (yes, you still have those) to stabilize your lower back during this exercise.