Dorian Chase

Clients8 min read

7 Exercises for Your Clients' Pregnancy Workout Plan

Exercises Designed For Pregnant Women

Keeping your clients active during their pregnancy is essential for a healthy mom and baby. Check out our 7 exercises for your clients' pregnancy workout plan.

During pregnancy, your client will be eating for two. She'll be naturally more tired and slow-moving.

It might be tempting for her to hit pause on her workout routine. Her body is going through a lot, and she might be afraid that exercising isn't safe.

These nine months are not the time to sit on the couch all day and eat whatever she wants. In fact, it's crucial now more than ever to be eating healthy and doing a pregnancy workout plan.

A fit pregnancy generally means an easier pregnancy. Working out will lower her risk of gestational diabetes by 30%. Exercising can also prep her for an easier delivery.

Keeping your clients active during their pregnancy is essential for a healthy mom and baby. Check out our 7 exercises for your clients' pregnancy workout plan.

1. Core Strengthening Moves

Obviously, a pregnant woman shouldn't be doing crunches and sit-ups. But, as a personal trainer, you know that there's plenty of other core strengthening exercises.

Ideally, your client already has a strong core. If she's new to personal fitness, it's important to add core work to her pregnancy workout plan in the first trimester.

First Trimester

During this time, she can still be doing planks, which is great for her core. Building some core strength before her belly pops is crucial. The more muscle she has, the easier it will be for her stomach to get back into shape.

Second Trimester

When she's in her second trimester, she can do modified front and side planks. Have her plank with one or both knees on the floor.

Pregnant women's center of gravity changes as they get bigger. This can help stabilize her if her balance is wobbly.

Third Trimester

The exercises you can do with your client won't vary too much from the second trimester. It's just a matter of what she feels comfortable doing now that she's dealing with 20-40 extra pounds on her body.

Because of this, a little work goes a long way!

Try This Move: Quadruped Bird-Dog Pulse

The Bird-Dog is simple but has a lot of benefits, so definitely add it to her pregnancy workout plan. It's great for your client before, during, and post-partum.

Have her get on her hands and knees. With a tight core, lift up the right leg until it's just above a 90-degree angle.

Slowly and carefully lift up the left arm until it is also at about 90 degrees. Then pulse the extended arm and leg upwards. Start with 3 sets of 25 pulses.

2. Prenatal Yoga

Yoga is something every woman should add to their pregnancy workout plan. It has a whole range of benefits that are both mental and physical.

Physical Benefits

Physically, they'll be stretching and toning their muscles. Depending on how fast-paced the yoga is, they can get in a cardio workout as well.

Breathing is also an important part of yoga. What do people practice in lamaze class? Breathing!

Mental Benefits

Mentally, yoga is great for stress relief. It's extremely important for mom to stay as stress-free as possible during her pregnancy.

Trying to practice focus during yoga can also help during delivery. Meditation and focus are just like exercise. You get stronger the more you do it!

Being able to calm herself and deep breathe through labor will make the experience easier. Together, you could even pick out a mantra that she can use in her yoga and then later in delivery.

Additionally, the Mayo Clinic has found research that prenatal yoga helps decrease depression and can help insomnia in pregnant women.

Try These Moves: Cat/Cow Poses

The cat and cow pose is definitely the ones to add to your client's pregnancy workout plan.

This one is a really practical pose for a woman in her second or third trimester. Cat and cow warms up and stretches the spine. Dealing with back pain is the norm for pregnant women.

These poses also help move the baby away from the spine. This is a great move to do after a personal training session. She can also do the move on her own whenever she's experiencing pain.

On her hands and knees in "tabletop" position, she'll round her spine towards the ceiling. This is cat pose.

Cow pose starts the same way, except she'll turn her pelvis up so her stomach lowers. Her spine will curve towards the floor.

Have her rock back and forth between these two positions for as long as it feels comforting.

3. Swimming

Does your client have access to a pool? Then swimming needs to be something you add to her pregnancy workout plan.

Most doctors agree that it's probably the best prenatal exercise a woman can do.

For one, in any other work out, there's always some sort of risk of falling. The water is the only place where that's not possible!

Another plus is the feeling of weightlessness. It's easier to work out for longer periods because they don't feel like they're carrying around the extra pounds.

Even in the third trimester, they can move around easily. In the 8th and 9th months, joints and ligaments are at their most fragile. In the water, your clients can maintain their normal range of motion without injury.

Try This Move: The Breaststroke

When choosing swimming styles to try, steer clear of ones that require her to twist her torso from side-to-side. The breaststroke avoids that and is generally easy on the neck and back.

All she has to do is kick forward in the water. Both arms move back and forth from out in front of her to her side while she kicks continuously.

If swimming isn't really her thing, you can also try water aerobics. Just walking through the water is great exercise.

4. Weightlifting

Weightlifting might sound too strenuous to add to your client's pregnancy workout plan. In fact, it's totally safe when done correctly.

In the first trimester, weight-training is especially important. She's about to put on a lot of weight that her body isn't used to. Lifting weights will help prepare her muscles for it.

Gaining muscle around her joints will protect them when she goes into her third trimester.

How to Add Weights to Her Routine

If your client has always been weightlifting, she can carry on as normal. It won't be until the final months where she might need to pull back.

Feel out what she can safely do. Putting together a pregnancy workout plan should be done on a case-by-case basis.

A client that is just getting into weightlifting should tread more cautiously. Have her use lighter weights than you would normally give a client of her fitness level.

Try This Move: Baby Pick-Ups

After she's in her second and third trimesters, you'll probably want to avoid much back exercise. Again, decide what to do based on how she's feeling. But, her back will be under enough strain, and additional back exercises may be too much.

This move avoids working too much of her lower back. Instead, it gets her ready for picking up a baby in one arm and a diaper bag in the other.

Have her start with a dumbbell in each hand, with both feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Stepping forward with her left foot, she'll bend into a lunge.

Then, she'll stand back upright while she does a bicep curl. Repeat this move on the other leg.

5. Butt and Thigh Slimmers

When women hit their third trimester, they often gain additional weight in their butt and thighs. If they have already built some muscle there, they won't gain quite as much.

Another thing that happens in the third trimester is that it becomes harder to get up from sitting. Some of that can't be helped because her center of gravity is off.

However, having strong legs and thighs can make it a lot easier to get up and down. Squats are definitely one thing to add to her pregnancy workout plan!

Ensure that she masters deep squats in her first trimester. By her third trimester, she'll be getting on and off the couch faster than all her pregnant pals.

But don't let her move too fast! Again, her center of gravity will be off during her second and third trimester.

If she isn't seeming very steady, you might want to spot her during leg exercises. Another idea is to have her hold onto a wall or a chair, especially when doing lunges.

Try This Move: Plies

A plie is a nice addition to a pregnancy workout plan. This exercise will help stretch and tone her inner thighs which will help during delivery.

Plies can also be modified for how she's feeling. If getting down too low is difficult, she can do a first position plie.

With her heels together and toes apart, have her hold the back of a chair. She'll tuck in her butt, and then bend her knees about 45 degrees. As she straightens her legs back up, she squeezes her butt and inner thighs.

She might not be going down very low, but she'll definitely still feel it!

If she wants to try something a little harder, she can separate her feet a little past hip-width apart. Then bend her knees down to a 90-degree angle.

6. Pilates

Pilates is a great workout for pregnant women. It tones and stretches, but it doesn't have to be very strenuous. If she doesn't have a ton of energy for cardio, a gentle pilates session will do the trick.

If she's feeling too nausea to exercise, she can get a few minutes of movement while sitting down. Sticking out your arms straight and then moving them in small, tight circles is a toning pilates move.

But don't have her get too comfortable by lying on her back! Many core moves in pilates are done with the back on a mat. Even if it doesn't involve a crunch, steer clear of these exercises during the second and third trimester.

Spending too much time on their back will cause the baby to press against her spine and organs. That obviously doesn't sound too safe or comfortable!

Try This Move: Clamshells

Another reason pilates is great for a pregnancy workout plan? There are lots of moves that tone the pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor makes for an easier delivery and recovery.

Add clamshells to her routine to help tone her pelvic floor and her outer thighs.

First have her lie on her side, with her legs out in front of her. Have her bend them to a 90-degree angle. If she's in her second or third trimester, place a pillow between the floor and her belly.

With her heels together, have her open and close her knees, like, you guessed it--a clamshell! As she does this, she should squeeze her outer thighs and pelvic muscles. After 3 rounds of 20-30 reps, have her repeat on the other side.

7. Walking

Walking might not seem very exciting. However, if your client hasn't exercised much in her life, it should be added to her pregnancy workout plan.

She should be easing herself into exercise. Now's not the time to try getting into running!

Walking is great because it's an exercise that she can do anywhere, at almost any time. If she can't fit in a more strenuous workout, always encourage her to at least walk.

When it's between doing nothing or taking a loop around the block, any movement is better than none.

Planning a Client's Pregnancy Workout Plan?

When putting together a pregnancy workout plan, remember every mama-to-be is different. There may be some exercises that one woman can do safely that another client can't.

Tell her to listen to her body and let you know if she's experiencing any warning signs that she needs to stop. The key is to keep active, while still being gentle and not over-doing it.

Did you find this blog helpful? Then check out our other blog, "How to Create a Workout Plan for Older Adults."