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Strength Training While Pregnant

Well, I hit the gym again yesterday. Since I’m staying away from running this week, I thought strength training would be a nice substitute. That being said, I wanted to keep it semi-light. It would be pretty awful if I pulled a muscle or hurt myself lifting weights a couple days before the marathon!

Yesterday, I mostly focused on upper body but also incorporated some core and leg moves into the routine. Here are the exercises I performed:

  • Chest Press on a Machine– I did 3 sets of 15 with around 20 pounds. I normally don’t use machines but I’m at the point in my pregnancy when I can no longer do exercises on my back. I don’t mind the chest press machine, it always gives me a good workout.
  • Lat Pulldowns– Also using a machine (or bar). I could still do rows with free weights if I wanted but this another exercise I like doing with the bar. I did 3 sets of 15.
  • Cable Overhead Triceps Extension– These made it pretty clear I haven’t done these in a while! I started with 25lbs. but was going nowhere with that amount of weight.  Eventually, I got down to 10lbs. and that was hard enough!! I attempted 3 sets of 15…I think the last set was 10-12 though..


  • Knees to Elbows– This was sort of a fail. I wanted to attempt a couple ab exercises on the captain’s chair…

I did a couple then stopped. I felt like I was squishing the baby even though I know I wasn’t. It’s just weird when you start to actually notice your belly (like your thighs hitting it). I was just too weirded out..maybe next time.

I also did a couple exercises with free weights and body weight only:

  • Bicep Curls– 3 sets of 15 switching between 8 and 10lbs.
  • Arnold Press– 3 sets of 15 switching between 8 and 10lbs. Here’s a picture of an Arnold Press if you’re not familiar:


I ended the workout with clams and bird-dogs. I didn’t want to do too much with my legs since I need to save them for Monday, but I thought a little hip exercise couldn’t hurt. I’ve been told in the past that I have weak hips and I know I overlook them when working out so I thought I’d give them a little boost yesterday.

I performed 3 sets of 15 Clams on both legs.


I ended my workout with bird-dogs. This is a great core exercise for anyone but especially pregnant women since we can’t do exercises on our backs. This not only works your abs but also your back. I noticed how much more difficult it was yesterday just with the little weight I’ve added. Balance was a little trickier!

I did 3 sets of 15 bird-dogs on both sides:


If these are too easy for you, you can always take your 1 arm and leg out towards the sides to make it more difficult. You can also crunch your arm and leg together so you feel it in your abs, then back out again. I skipped that since I don’t wanna squish baby :).

Now that the baby is moving, I feel like the marathon is going to be even harder. I’m so much more aware that there’s a little person in my belly…I hate that they will be bouncing around for 4 hours! I know he or she’s been through it before (since I torture him/her on a regular basis) but it’s different now that I feel her (I’m just gonna say her) kicking…the torture is almost over baby I swear!!


It was a pretty good workout! My arms are sore today, which I love! Speaking of sore, check out this awesome website called CrossFitMoms. I love it because it breaks down CrossFit workouts for pregnant chicks. It goes even further sometimes by giving you easy, medium, and hard variations-love it!! I might have to try some after the race!


What’s your favorite core exercise? Have you tried CrossFit before?



5 comments to Strength Training While Pregnant

  • Wow, tough workout! I’ve been so focused on core and lower body that I need to start with an upper body workout.

    Have a wonderful day!

  • Katie

    This might be total BS, but I read somewhere that the babies really love running because it’s like rocking them to sleep. So just think as you hit mile 18+ — you’re giving him (her?) a nap!

    I’m all about the planks these days: no baby crushing! 🙂

  • You are going to do great during your race and your baby is going to love his/her 1st marathon.
    I will tell you this, strength training(safely of course) is SO important during pregnancy. It will help you during and after pregnancy. So keep it up!!!
    Never tried crossfit officially but I am going to check out the site!

  • Lauren

    Now that I’m pregnant, I’ve been doing a lot of my core work on my yoga ball. My obgyn office is VERY cautious about everything (which drives me nuts sometimes!) and since day 1 they said no ab work. I’ve been doing ab work for years and have read a ton of books on exercise and pregnancy. They all talk about how important it is to keep yours abs strong for labor so after this first trimester is over, I’m going to focus on planks, and then maybe quit abs in the third trimester. I know what you mean about squishing the baby though. Even though I’m only 10.5 weeks and the baby is so small, I still get concerned I’m squishing him/her!!

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