It’s easy to focus on the things you can’t do while preggers. Thankfully, fitness doesn’t fall under that category. It’s a myth that you can’t start new types of exercise during pregnancy (it’s fine with your doctor’s OK), and these eight safe and super fun classes prove it: four prenatal workouts to tame pregnancy complaints and keep pounds in check, plus four postnatal calorie-burners that’ll help you get your body back.
A few safety tips to keep in mind: Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, be sure to let the instructor know you’re expecting or you just gave birth and, by all means, listen to your body. Post-baby, wait six weeks after delivery (or longer if you had a Cesarean section) to start exercising, and be sure tocheck with your doctor first. So, stop dwelling on the don’ts and start doing!
A hip-swiveling calorie-burner, Zumba (zumba.com) can do as much for your self-confidence as your curves. “A lot of women don’t feel sexy when pregnant. But moving this way can help you feel sexy,” says Angie Acosta, a Zumba instructor in Charlotte, N.C.
The hip rolling and core conditioning in this standing ab workout primes your pushing muscles, and the dance moves set to lively beats (think merengue, salsa and hip-hop) also increase your ever-changing sense of balance and coordination.
Modifications: Skip any jumping or quick twisting.
Prenatal: Aqua Boot Camp
Forget granny-style pool classes, this hourlong class uses resistance tools and cardio moves to tone your upper body and core while burning fat and improving flexibility—all without the high-impact pounding that comes with regular aerobics. “Pregnant women will feel considerably lighter in water so they can move around a lot better,” says Ellis Peters, aqua boot camp instructor at Equinox fitness in New York City.
Other pregnancy pluses: Water decreases stress on the joints and research shows that pregnant women who do water aerobics are less likely to ask for pain meds during delivery. To find a class, visit Equinox (equinox.com) or check your local gym.
Modifications: As your belly expands, widen your stance and your kicks.
Prenatal: The Dailey Method
“We train alignment from the inside out,” says Jill Dailey Mcintosh, founder of The Dailey Method (thedaileymethod.com), a combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning and orthopedic exercise.
Properly aligning your spine before engaging your muscles protects your joints, and it can alleviate pregnancy-related back pain. Plus, classes emphasize the pelvic floor.
Modifications: Once you start showing, do planks and push-ups on your knees.
Prenatal: Soul Cycle
Indoor cycling, plus full-body sculpting, plus candlelight, plus pump-me-up music make this 45-minute class one heck of a ride. Prenatal riders will also love the head-clearing aspect: so long, pregnancy brain!
So far, Soul Cycle (soul-cycle.com) is only in New York and Los Angeles, but it’s expanding. In the meantime, look for an indoor cycling class in your neighborhood.
Modifications: ”Do what’s comfortable, whether that’s riding in or out of the saddle,” says New York-based instructor Stacey Griffith.
Postnatal: The Bar Method
Breastfeeders, rejoice! The Bar Method (barmethod.com) is non-impact (no bouncing!).
But don’t let the small, isolated barre-style moves fool you. The combo of interval training and isometrics burns excess baby fat without impacting vulnerable post-pregnancy joints. It also targets the muscles new moms most want to firm up—butt, thighs and abs.
Modifications: Each exercise comes with variations, so you can choose your intensity level.
Postnatal: Sumits Yoga
Hot yoga meets power flow in this 80-minute class that features both balancing and energizing poses—and music!
The heated room (100 to 105 degrees) promotes calorie burning, and the sequence of poses improves posture, balance, alignment and core strength. Plus, the deep breathing encouraged in Sumits Yoga (sumitsyoga.com) can help stimulate the relaxation response, a major plus for frazzled new moms.
Modifications: Do what feels right, not what the person next to you is doing.
“Kinesis is a mix of core, strength, endurance, interval training, balance and cardio, so new moms get an all-over workout,” says Lia Pulver, fitness director at Camelback Village Racquet & Health Club in Phoenix. It also helps correct baby-induced body imbalances (psst!: Carting baby around on one hip can cause tightness).
The class, which runs 30, 45 or 60 minutes, centers around the Kinesis device, a four-station pulley system. Email email@example.com to find the facility nearest you.
Modifications: The small class size (10 people, max) means one-on-one attention and customized modifications.
Actress Hilary Duff’s stay-fit secret? Piloxing (piloxing.com). Created by Viveca Jensen (she’s also Duff’s trainer), the high-intensity cardio workout mixes two- to four- minute blasts of boxing, Pilates and dance for a fat-scorching, muscle-sculpting good time that works you to the core, literally.
“The core is the key to Piloxing,” says Jensen. The Pilates portion sculpts glutes and thighs, while the punching portion builds arm strength (you’ll need it post-baby).
Modifications: Wear a sports bra and walk it out if it gets too bouncy on tender breasts.
Get rid of your middle and tone your waist with these targeted exercises (6 Photos)
Jessica Smith on Jan 11, 2013 at 2:18PM
Doing exercises that work the oblique muscles that line the sides of your waist can help you strengthen and engage your abs for a tighter, more pulled-in look. This twisted plank exercise is a favorite of Nicole Nichols, a certified personal trainer and star of the Total Body Sculpting DVD.
How to do it: Come to a side plank position with the feet and legs stacked, hand directly under your shoulder and your top arm extended [as shown in photo A]. As you exhale, reach your hips higher from the floor while threading your top hand under the body, reaching behind you [as shown in photo B]. Return to face forward to complete one rep. Work your way up to three sets of 15 reps on each side.
For a quick and efficient way to target the muscles that line your waist (and work the rest of your body, too), try this move from Nichols: How to do it: Come to a side plank position with the legs staggered (top leg forward, bottom leg back), hand directly under your shoulder and top arm extended (A). Inhale and reach your top arm up and over (next to your ear) while lifting your bottom hip even higher from the floor, flexing the spine while keeping the hips and shoulders square (B). Exhale and lower your bottom hip halfway down toward the mat, sweeping your top arm down next to your thigh (C). Continue back to the lifted (A) and lowered (C) position without pausing to complete 15 reps before switching sides. Work up to three sets of 15 on each side.
Strengthen your waist with this side-slimming move from Patricia Friberg, certified Pilates instructor and star of the Power 4 Pink Workout DVD.
How to do it: Lie on your left side, legs extended out straight, with your left arm extended and your head resting on it, with your top arm resting on the side of your thigh (your body should be making a straight line). Squeeze your inner thighs together : Lie on your left side, legs extended out straight, with your left arm extended and your head resting on it, with your top arm resting on the side of your thigh (your body should be making a straight line). Squeeze your inner thighs together and lift your feet slightly off the floor [as shown in photo A]. Next, press down with your right shoulder, reaching your right arm towards your feet as you lift the left side of your torso off the floor, pressing down with your left hand for support [as shown in photo B]. Hold for one count and then slowly lower back to starting position. Work your way up to three sets of 15 reps on each side.
“While bicycle crunches may seem like a basic exercise, an American Council on Exercise research study found this exercise to be one of the most effective,” says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. It gets the job done by activating the abdominal wall and obliques.
How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor and place your fingertips behind your ears. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground by contracting the abdominals (avoid pulling on the neck). Straighten the right leg out to about a 45-degree angle while drawing the right shoulder towards the left knee. Then switch sides, bringing the left shoulder towards the right knee while extending the left leg at a 45-degree angle. Continue to alternate sides in a pedaling type motion.
“Wood chops are one of my personal favorite exercises, as it’s not only functional, but also effective,” says Matthews. She prefers to use a dual grip medicine ball. If you don’t have one, try holding on to both ends of a dumbbell or full water bottle.
How to do it: Begin in a split stance with the left foot forward. Holding the medicine ball in both hands, slowly bring it to the starting position, just above the left shoulder without rotating your torso. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged. Throughout the exercise, continue to keep the chest, hips and head facing forward at all times. Keeping the medicine ball close to your body, slowly bring the ball down and across your body to your right hip. Hold this end position briefly before returning to your starting position. Do 15 repetitions and then switch to the opposite direction. Work your way up to three sets on each side.
Get results and stay motivated with your new workout routine by avoiding these common pitfalls
If you decide that running a 5K is your goal, but you’ve never run before, trying to finish one by the end of your first week of training isn’t the best idea. ”The biggest mistake that new exercisers make is setting incredibly unattainable goals,” says Samantha Clayton , a certified personal trainer and former Olympic sprinter in Malibu, California. Starting your first week off by going for your first run in years, several days in a row, will most likely have you throwing in the towel by Wednesday.
Before you can run, you need to start walking. “Small, simple and easy goals will build your confidence and help you to stick with it,” says Clayton. If, for example, your ultimate goal is to run a 5K but you’ve never run before, break down your larger goal into smaller, more realistic steps. Start off with brisk walking the first week, graduate to a walk/run combo the next, and then eventually progress into running longer distances until you’re ready to race to the finish line of your long term goal.
You voted, we listened! The winners of the 2011 SheKnows Parenting Awards have been chosen, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share them with you. We rounded up the latest and greatest products available, and picked our favorites based on functionality, safety, affordability and more.
So grab your rattle and make some noise, because here come the best products in parenting!
Ready to get your pre-baby body back? Patricia Friberg does it again with her award winning postnatal fitness DVD, Belly Beautiful Workout: Postnatal Fitness and Busy Mom Workout. What I love about this DVD it is something ALL new moms can do. It is not one of those bootcamp, make you feel bad workouts. This 80-minute workout is broken into five segments:: (more…)