First Trimester Pregnancy Workout Strength Training

This fist trimester pregnancy workout goes out to all my ladies who like to challenge themselves. Getting pregnant doesn’t mean you have to putz on the elliptical for 9 months or limit your classes to prenatal yoga. If you were doing strength training, HIIT, bootcamp and/or plyometrics prior to getting pregnant, you can do this workout as long as you are not at high risk.

Check with your doctor to be safe but unless you have a reason to believe otherwise, you likely have a healthy pregnancy. The first nurse I spoke to on the phone when I said I was pregnant told me to keep my heart rate below 140 which is pretty old school and that was at the NUMBER ONE (arguably) best hospital in the US.

Get my Prenatal Workout Guide here.

I’m not telling you to go against your nurses orders but I am suggesting that you do a little research and ask for second opinions. I tried to keep my max heart rate around 160 and occasionally it would get up to 165 with Tommy but I had a healthy pregnancy, delivery and now at 2 years old, he is growing and developing on target.

There is still the generational divide where older women think you need to stop working out how us millennials know how when you are pregnant.

The general rule, one more time in case you haven’t heard it, is that you are safe to continue doing what you were doing prior to getting pregnant. For me, this meant running with Tommy in my belly. I ran the Boston Marathon at 4 week pregnant, the Falmouth Road Race at 20 weeks pregnant and a half marathon at 29 weeks pregnant.

Second time around, I have NO IDEA how I did that. Really. I haven’t run since the fall so I’m not going to start back up again. I was doing the BBG workouts, and the Body Boss Workouts for a review. I loved them but quickly realized they were not exactly prenatal friendly as you progress. It’s almost like you need the reverse when you’re pregnant which is why I decided to create my own prenatal workout guide.

Here is the beginning of my pregnancy workout guide that shares an introduction to exercising while pregnant as well as the first strength training workout for the first trimester. I’m doing the workouts myself which is why I’ll be releasing them when I hit that trimester. There is nothing more annoying than someone who is pregnant for the first time dishing out all this advice on prenatal fitness in the third trimester when they haven’t even gotten that far.

Every pregnancy is different. I didn’t want to come across as a know it all during my first which is why I didn’t do a ton of prenatal workouts. This time around, I have a good grasp on what is coming and what to expect and how I’ll feel. I also am WAY more familiar with the diastasis recti threat. With so much conflicting information, it’s hard to figure out what is the best way to work your abs while pregnant. Nothing at all is kind of what I’ve come to accept unless you’re working them as part of a total body move.

Without further ado, here is my pregnancy workout:

First Trimester Strength Training Routine


Prenatal Strength Workout #1

Do 2 rounds total of each set. Keep rest in between moves to 10-15 seconds. Rest 1 minute in between rounds. Workout should only take 30 minutes or less.

Set #1

  • 12 reps Body Weight Sumo Squat (dumbbells optional 5-15 lbs)
  • 24 reps Walking Lunges (12 on each side, dumbbells optional 5-15 lbs)
  • 12 Lie Down Push Ups
  • 24 Side Plank Hip Dips (12 on each side)
  • 24 Heel Taps (12 on each side)

Set #2

  • 12 Squat Jumps or Side to Side Squats
  • 12 Squat Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press (5-12.5 lbs dumbbells)
  • 15 Tricep Dips (or Overhead Extension)
  • 12 Bent Over Rows (8-15 lb dumbbells)
  • 12 Low to High Plank
  • Body Weight Sumo Squat – Stand with feet shoulder width distance apart and squat down with knees tracking over your toes, weight in your heels. Engage your glutes as you stand up and thrust hips an inch forward creating fists with your booty before lowering back down. Feel free to add a kegel while standing back up, lifting your pelvic floor at the lowest point

Walking Lunges – With or without a pair dumbbells, take a step forward with your right foot and lower left knee towards the ground, creating 90 degree angles with your front and back knee. Keep weight in your front foot as you push off of your back foot coming back to a standing position. Alternate by stepping forward now with your left foot, repeat. Weights here are optional.

Lie Down Push Ups – Start by lying down on the ground, arms out stretched. Bring hands by sides and press up into a high plank position. Slowly lower back down until body is lying on the floor once again. Extend arms so that biceps graze ears before beginning rep number 2.

Side Plank Hip Dips – In side plank position, on forearm or wrist (I prefer forearm), lower hips about 6 inches and then lift back up so that your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders. If this feels uncomfortable, just hold a side plank for 12 breaths.

Heels Taps – Lie down on your back with knees bent 90 degrees, shins parallel to the ground, knees directly over your hips. Lower the right heel towards the ground keeping the 90 degree angle in your knee. Ezhale as your knee comes back up to meet the left knee. Place a hand on your upper abdominals and try to keep your abs from moving up and down by exhaling and engaging your abs. if you already are experiencing this coning effect, avoid this move and look for more exercises to heel a diastasis recti.

Jump Squats – With feet a little wider than hip width distance apart, gently lower down into a squat. Jump up as high as you can and land back down gently into another squat. If this feel uncomfortable already, Try side to side squats. Start in the same position but instead of jumping up, take your right foot and step to the right as you lower into a squat. Step the right foot back to starting position as you stand up. Repeat on the left.

Squat Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press – Stand in a squat position with feet hip width apart holding a pair of dumbbells, 5-12.5 lbs each. Lower down into a squat. As you stand back up, curl the weights up towards your shoulders, keep elbows close by sides and then press dumbbells up overhead. Slowly lower dumbbells back to starting position and lower back down into another sweat for rep #2.

Tricep Dips – Have a bench or stair handy. Place the heel of your hand on the edge of a bench, fingers pointing towards your booty. Feet can be straight or bent. Lower down until elbows are a 90 degree angle and then press back up engaging the triceps. If this bothers your wrist, grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them straight over your head. Lower the dumbbells behind your head , and then extend the back up to starting position keeping elbows close by your ears.

Bent Over Rows – Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and bent forward at the hips about 45 degrees. Let weights hand down under shoulders. Keeping elbows close by sides, row weights up to meet rib cage, pressing shoulders down and away from ears while pinches shoulder blades together. Lower weights back down to starting position.

Low to High Plank – One of my favorite moves! Start in a plank position on your hands. One at a time, lower down into a forearm plank. Then march right back up into a high plank. Engage your core and trying to keep your hips from rocking side to side. This move can also be done on your knees.

Stay tuned for workout #2 coming in 2 weeks… 

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