Pregnant women who exercise have less back pain, more energy, a better body image and, post-delivery, a faster return to their pre-pregnancy shape. Be sure to do the moves in the order shown and, for best results, do the workout every other day. Always check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program.
Move 1: Plié Squat
Stand parallel to the back of a sturdy chair with the hand closest to the chair resting on it, feet parallel and hip-distance apart.
With your toes and knees turned out to 45 degrees, pull your belly button up and in. Bend your knees, lowering your torso as low as possible while keeping your back straight [shown]. Straighten your legs to return to starting position. Repeat for reps.
Strengthens: Quadriceps, hamstrings and butt. Improves balance.
Move 2: Side-Lying Inner and Outer Thigh
Lie on your right side, head supported by your forearm, right leg bent at a 45-degree angle and left leg straight. Place your opposite arm on the floor for stability. Lift left leg to about hip height and repeat for reps.
Then, bend your left knee and rest it on top of pillows for support. Straighten your right leg and lift it as high as possible for reps. Switch sides and repeat for reps.
Strengthens: Core and inner thighs.
Get down on your hands and knees, wrists directly under your shoulders. Lift your knees and straighten your legs behind you until your body forms a straight line. Don’t arch your back or let your belly sag.
Hold for 1 to 2 breaths, working up to 5 breaths.
Strengthens: Core, arms and back.
Move 4: Curl and Lift
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with your back straight, feet on the floor, arms at your sides. Hold a 5- to 8-pound weight in each hand, palms facing your body. Bend your elbows so your arms form a 90-degree angle.
Then, keeping your elbows bent, lift the weights to shoulder height. Lower your arms to your sides, then straighten to return to starting position. Repeat for reps.
Strengthens: Biceps and shoulders.
Move 5: One Arm Row
Using a sturdy chair, place your right knee on the seat, left foot on the floor. Bend for- ward, back parallel to the floor and place your right hand on the seat. Hold a 5- to 8-pound weight in your left hand, arm extended down and in line with your shoulder, palm facing in.
Bend your left elbow up so that your arm forms a 90-degree angle. Hold, then return to starting position. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
Strengthens: Back, biceps and triceps.