Erica Ziel, certified personal trainer, pilates instructor, nutritionist, founder of Core Athletica Inc., creator of Knocked Up Fitness, and mom of three (whew!), shares can-do exercises to help you stay fit during pregnancy and beyond.
Exercising and keeping your legs strong throughout your nine months will not only have you looking fabulous but also help you feel better both before and after baby arrives. These leg-centered movements work to maintain flexibility in your hips and prepare you for picking up your little one—and all her accompanying toys!
Optional equipment: 2- to 3-pound dumbbells, chair (for extra balance support, if needed)
1. Start in a lunge position with your left leg forward and right leg back. Keep most of your weight on your left leg and think about “sticking your bum out.” To add your upper body, reach your arms out in front of you at about 45 degrees. (Hold 2- to 3-pound dumb- bells for additional challenge.)
2. Exhale as you begin to stand, press up with your left glute, and continue bringing your right leg through to standing. Continue moving your arms behind you while squeezing your triceps. Think about activating your deep core muscles, which will help with balance.
3. Continue for 5 to 20 reps on your left side, then switch to the right.
1. On your hands and knees in a cat/cow position, pick up your right knee and tuck it toward your chest, engaging your core.
2. Gently kick your right leg back as you allow your hips to rotate open, looking back toward your leg.
3. Continue for 10 to 30 reps on your right side before switching to your left.
Side-lying leg kicks
1. Lie on your left side, with your left (bottom) leg reaching out or bent depending on what’s most comfortable for you. Bend your right (top) leg toward your chest, and rotate it toward the floor if possible.
2. Reach your right leg up and away from you, pressing with your glute and outer thigh.
3. Continue for 10 to 30 reps, then repeat on the opposite side.
Optional equipment: 2- to 3-pound dumbbells
1. With your legs spread wide, lower into a deep squat until you get to a level that is challenging but comfort- able. To add your upper body, reach your arms out into a high “V.” (Hold 2- to 3-pound dumbbells for additional challenge.)
2. Press up out of your deep squat, engaging your glutes, and shift your weight to your right foot as you lift your left heel and rotate to your right. Lower your arms from a high “V” down to a “T”position.
3. Rotate forward and lower again to the deep squat position from step one.
4. Press up out of your deep squat, this time rotating to your left before returning center.
5. Continue for 5 to 20 reps.