We are BACK for another fitness friday! I loved all the feedback you guys gave me through comments, emails, tweets, etc. from last week’s workout. I am SO pumped about this series!! This week I’m bringing you an awesome upper body workout that is definitely going to get your blood flowing…
A “superset” is when you put two exercises back to back that work the same muscle group. This method is often used when the goal is to build muscle. Well guess what?! Upper body strength definitely comes in handy with babies and little children, so if you start now, carrying that car seat might be a little easier when the time comes. So let’s build some muscle with the Prenatal Upper Body Superset Workout from my AWESOME trainer, Rachel Sevier of Shape Fitness! (She even does online training, too!! 🙂) Rep and weight recommendations are in each exercise description. If you don’t have dumbbells at home, you could also use a resistance band, cans of food, water bottles, etc. Get creative and have fun!
Place your hands on a bench, coffee table, or couch and maintain a straight line from you head to your knees or feet (either is fine!). Lower your chest toward your bench or couch just like you would if you were on the floor. Squeeze your chest muscles to push back to the starting position and repeat 10-15 reps total.
Trainer Tip: The bigger your belly, the more your lower back will try to droop during a push up. The higher you make your incline, the better it will be for your back. Also, be sure to keep your core engaged to help protect your back as well.
Lie on your stability ball with your head and neck resting on the ball. Heels should be right under your knees. The earlier you are in your pregnancy, you can position your body more parallel to the floor. However, if you are farther along and have a larger belly already, lower your hips a little bit to rest more of your back on the ball and raise your head and shoulders up (this will be more of an incline chest press). In either position, hold your dumbbells (8-12lbs is ideal) so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle and are in line with your shoulders. Press the dumbbells up so they are right above your chest. Maintaining control, lower back down to the start position and repeat for 10-15 reps total.
Trainer Tip: If you don’t have a stability ball, and are early in your pregnancy, you can lie flat on the floor. If you are farther along and have a bigger belly, make a pile of pillows on the floor and lie back on the pillows. The bigger your belly gets, the more important it is to not lie flat on your back to avoid the weight of the baby putting pressure on the vena cava, which could reduce blood flow to your brain and uterus.
Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Hinge forward at the waist as far as your belly will allow you to. Hold your dumbbells (8-12lbs) straight down below your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the dumbbells up and lift your elbows high above your back. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to start and repeat for 10-15 reps total.
Trainer Tip: Keep your elbows and biceps tight to your body during each rep and pretend you are trying to squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades. This will ensure proper form and help you get the most out of the exercise!
Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Hinge forward at the waist until your upper body is at about a 45 degree angle. Keep your arms very straight (but don’t lock your elbows) and lift your arms straight forward and up until your biceps are beside your ears. Feel your lats engage and work all the way down your back. Slowly return to start and repeat up to 10-15 reps.
Trainer Tip: A very light weight (2-3lbs) will do the trick for this exercise so don’t overdo it!
Stand with one foot slightly behind you, tapping only your toe to the floor. The majority of your weight should be in your front heel. Keeping your core engaged, curl your dumbbells up toward your shoulder and then lower them back to start. Repeat up to 10 curls per leg using 8-10lb dumbbells.
Trainer Tip: The more weight you can shift to your front leg and maintain balance, the better. Your balance gets thrown off during pregnancy, so working your core stabilizers whenever you can will be very beneficial in preventing falls during your pregnancy.
You get a slight rest here! Grab a chair and sit on the very edge of the chair with your heels directly under your knees and your back tall with core engaged. Keep your elbows at an angle just slightly wider than 90 degrees. Hold your dumbbells (8-10lbs) as close together as you can in front of your body. Maintaining that angle in your elbows, rotate your dumbbells outward and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Bring your dumbbells back to start position and repeat for 10-15 reps.
Trainer Tip: Don’t let your posture relax while seated. This position is a great opportunity for your lower back and your core to be strengthened safely during pregnancy so make posture a priority!
Stand up tall and keep your abs in tight. Slightly tuck your tail bone under you to prevent your lower back from arching. Holding one 10lb or so dumbbell in your hands (or a 5lb in each hand), extend your arms with the dumbbell straight above your head. You biceps should be squeezing your ears. Keep your elbows and biceps tight to your head and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head. Now press straight back up, squeezing your triceps! Repeat for a total of 10-12reps.
Trainer Tip: During this exercise, it’s very easy to let your elbows and biceps fall out away from your head. Pay extra attention to this form so that you make sure to keep your elbows tight to your head to maximize the effort in your triceps.
Your posture for this exercise should be just like it was for the bent over row. Feet should be hip width apart, back flat, and hinge forward at the waste as far as your belly lets you. Lighter weights (3-5lbs) are ideal for this exercise. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lift your elbows high above your back, being sure to keep your elbows and biceps tight to your body. From here, keep your elbows still and extend your arms back until they are straight. Squeeze the triceps! Return your arms to the start position and repeat for 10-12 reps.
Trainer Tip: Be sure to keep your abs engaged and your back flat when you are in this hinged forward position. This will protect your back and strengthen your core.
Stand tall, core engaged, feet hip width apart, and knees slightly bent (just make sure they aren’t locked out). Hold your dumbbells (5-10lbs) at shoulder height with your elbows at a 90 degree angle. In this position, your elbows should be slightly in front of your shoulder, as opposed to directly in line with your shoulder. From here, press your dumbbells all the way up until your biceps are basically touching your ears. Lower back down and repeat for a total of 10-12 reps.
Trainer Tip: Always exhale on the harder, or concentric, part of the exercise. This will help you have enough power to complete the movement. Then inhale on the easier, or eccentric, part of the motion.
Start in the same position as the shoulder press. This time, instead of pressing upward, you are going to rotate your forearms in towards each other, but still keeping that 90 degree angle in your elbows. Squeeze you forearms as close together as possible and then rotate back out to the start position. Repeat for 10-12 reps with 5-8lb dumbbells.
Trainer Tip: Don’t let your elbows fall below shoulder height or you won’t get as much out of the exercise!
What about you? Any workouts you’re loving lately?