Prenatal Fitness for Free
Yesterday morning, as I trolled Youtube in search of my workout for the day, it suddenly occurred to me that as wonderful a resource Youtube can be for free fitness from home, some of y’all out there might benefit from some of the treasure troves I’ve found. Especially if you happen to be 34 weeks (okay, ALMOST 34 weeks) pregnant and have a deep loathing for a lot of “normal” prenatal workouts.
Here’s the thing: I am pregnant, and I do have an enormous baby bump, but I am well aware of what I was capable of doing fitness-wise before pregnancy. I wasn’t exactly running marathons, but I did 60 minutes of HIIT workouts 3 times a week, and ran a couple miles every other day. Though there are some very real precautions that you need to take with exercise, especially later on in your pregnancy as the belly gets HUGE, I still feel capable of a good workout. I want to sweat. I want to be a little sore the next day. I want to not feel like I’m necessarily losing ground on the fitness turf (read: no bye-bye arms.) Youtube is an awesome resource for cheapskates like me who have no desire to pay for a gym membership, let alone the childcare it would require to get a decent workout in. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of fitness videos can make it difficult to settle on one–or 3 or 4 of the shorter ones. That, my friends, is what I’m here today to help you with.
I’m going to share with you what I did for a workout this morning, and anticipate adding more posts like this several times a week until a) I pop this kid out, or b) I’ve shared with you all my favorite fitness routines–minus the three paragraphs and counting of introduction.
Several things to keep in mind:
1. I am not a fitness trainer or a doctor. I’ve read a lot about exercise modifications during pregnancy, and have spoken with my doctor about any concerns I have, but if you have concerns about a particular exercise, you should talk to your doctor specifically. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, I modify it until it’s okay, or I just don’t do the exercise. Even so, it is entirely possible to get a good workout in, modifications necessary or not. Use your own good judgment.
2. As I am into well into my 3rd trimester, my doctor has advised against big, jarring movements. The belly is just too big for any of that to be comfortable anyways. If an exercise video has jumping jacks, jump squats, or any other sort of explosive jarring motion, I modify the crap out of it. If I include videos that I’ve had to modify exercises in, I’ll let you know in a note underneath the specific video.
3. I’ve had a lot of hip pain through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters this time around, so I try to always make hip and lower back stretching a priority.
4. I usually workout 5-6 days a week, alternating cardio/strength and power yoga. Workout sessions will be anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on how much my toddler slides into my workout hour. I make workouts a normal part of our life, so she has specific things that she does when I’m working out, but as I’m sure you know if you have a toddler, sometimes the best laid plans go awry.
5. I use both “prenatal” workouts and normal workouts, not in any particular order or combination, but whatever I feel like doing in one day.
This is Heidi Murkoff’s What To Expect When You Are Expecting Workout presented by the YouTube channel Lionsgate BeFit.
Notes: This is a 10 minute cardio workout. I was not impressed by its difficulty as an actual cardio workout, but it was an okay warmup. Very low impact. No modifications necessary.
This is a 15 minute pregnancy workout presented by the YouTube channel HASfit.
Notes: This was the real gold mine of the day. I broke a sweat, got my heartrate up, and will probably have slightly sore arms tomorrow! It was all low-impact, but using 3 lb weights throughout kicked up the intensity. This had the best low impact jumping jack modification I’ve ever used, and I fully intend to use it to modify any jumping jacks I encounter hereafter! No modifications were necessary, however, I did lower the wall-pushup to the edge of the couch to get a little more bang for my buck. If you have any abdominal separation (and by 34 weeks, if you DON’T have any, you’re probably superwoman!) exercises that strain your abs do very little for you and can do more damage, which will just set you back when the baby’s out and you’re working on losing the baby tummy. Exercises like pushups and planks can be modified by raising your hands until the little triangular pooch between your ab muscles disappears and your belly is just one big glorious beachball shape as you do the exercise.
This is Lower Back Stretches for Sciatica Pain presented by the YouTube channel FitnessBlender.
Notes: This was a great combination of stretches for the lower back and hip area, and it really did loosen up my ever-painful hip and back area. The first exercise has you laying flat on your back, which is generally unadvised if you’re into your second trimester. One way to modify back-lying poses is to prop your right side up on a pillow, however, I tend to feel that that gives the stretch a weird kink. It was just a minute, and I felt the benefits outweighed the risks in my particular case. It takes longer than a minute to wake up when I accidentally roll onto my back in the night anyways. With the shell stretch, instead of keeping my knees closed, I modified to a type of wide-legged child’s pose to accommodate the belly. Likewise, for the standing toe touch, I simply made it a wide legged standing toe touch. I don’t know if those modifications actually change the way the stretch works on your body, but they worked for me!
Altogether, I spent 33 minutes on these workouts, and finished out the day with a 1.5 mile walk.