Stories / Training

Pregnancy workouts - Pregnancy exercises & training

Take part in pregnancy workouts with Björn Borg. We show safe, effective exercises you can do both at home and at the gym.

Here you will get tips on exercises for pregnant women to train the pelvic floor, abdomen and back. We also talk about exercising during all trimesters and what exercises are good to avoid during pregnancy.

Exercise the pelvic floor

It is important to train your pelvic floor during pregnancy and it is a great advantage to start early to strengthen it. The pelvic floor cooperates with both abdominal muscles and back muscles, the diaphragm and the muscles around the hips.

There are various kegel exercises as well as other training exercises that you can do. Here are some examples of workout exercises:

  • Pelvic lift:

    - Lie on your back with your legs bent and a small rubber band stretched just above your knees.

    - Have both upper body and head towards the floor and lift and press the hip up towards the ceiling, while activating the pelvic floor and gluteal muscles.

    - If you want to challenge yourself a little extra, you can try having one leg extended when you push the hip up.


  • Bird dog:

    - Kneel with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, then extend your right leg behind you.

    - Simultaneously extend your left arm in front, parallel to the ground.

    - Hold for a few seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.


  • The clam/side lift with resistance band: An effective exercise that helps to strengthen the lateral stability of the pelvis.

    - Lie on your side with your upper arm on the ground in front of you, alternatively your hand at your side to check that your pelvis doesn't tip backwards. Feel free to place a small rubber band between the legs, at knee height.

    - Lift the upper knee straight up. Stop for a second or so at the top before going down again. Repeat. Remember to keep your feet together throughout the movement.

    Here you can get more inspiration and exercises for training with resistance bands.


  • Squats:

    - Performing squats while pregnant helps you strengthen the pelvic floor, which helps both during pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain, childbirth and afterwards. At the same time, squats are a leg exercise that trains the butt, thighs and calves.

    - It is important that your hips are parallel to your feet or closer to each other when performing squats while pregnant. Also remember not to hold your breath or use too heavy a weight during the exercise, and do easier squats the further into your pregnancy you get.


  • Pelvic floor training with a pilates ball:

    - A pilates ball is a versatile exercise tool for training various parts of the body. Using a pilates ball to train the pelvic floor during pregnancy has many benefits. For example, you can sit on the ball and roll your hips from side to side, do classic pelvic lifts, and also do kegel exercises to strengthen it.

    - Many also use the pilates ball to induce labor by sitting on it and gently bouncing up and down to loosen the muscles and help the baby move downward.

Abdominal exercise when you are pregnant

Can you exercise abs when you are pregnant? This is a common question and the answer is yes, but of course the bigger the stomach becomes, the more modified the abdominal training will be and there are certain abdominal exercises you like to skip when you are pregnant. Abdominal exercises such as sit ups and other exercises where you clench your stomach or pin point straight ab muscles can often feel uncomfortable and are something you can skip, especially from the second trimester onwards. Listen to your body and don't do anything that hurts or doesn't feel good.

Focus on exercises that stabilize and support the growing belly. Focus on the inner abs, obliques and your posture.

Exercising your core in a stabilizing way during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of back pain, while improving your posture and preparing you for childbirth.

Here are some examples of abdominal exercises that are good when you are pregnant:

  • Side Plank: Activate the internal and oblique abdominal muscles.

    - Lie on your side and support yourself on your elbow

    - Activate the stomach and lift the pelvis so that the body is straight. Remember to suck the belly button towards the spine so that you activate the muscles.

    - If it feels too difficult, you can also do an easier version where you have the bottom leg bent with the knee on the ground as support. It can be especially nice if you are far into your pregnancy.

  • Pallof press: A gentle exercise to strengthen control in the external rotator muscles of the trunk.

    - Attach a long resistance band around a stable surface, approximately at chest height.

    - Hold the end of the resistance band with both hands.

    Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and feet firmly on the floor.

    - Press the resistance band away from the anchor point and away from your chest, extending your arms fully in front of you.

    - Hold the resistance band at full stretch for a few seconds and slowly release the tension and bring the band back to the starting point.

  • Lateral lift with weight:

    - Stand with your feet straight with your weight plate or dumbbell in one hand. Tense the torso and bend the upper body to the side in a controlled manner.

    - Remember not to lean your body forward or backward.

    - Switch hands and alternate between sides.

Exercise your back when you are pregnant

Exercising the back and strengthening it is extremely important throughout pregnancy, as the center of gravity now ends up in front of you as the belly grows. Having a strong back helps with both posture and stability and can reduce the risk of back pain. Back problems such as pelvic girdle pain are common during pregnancy and exercising and strengthening the back can provide pain relief. Think about the technique of the exercises you do and stop if it hurts too much.

Here are some examples of effective back exercises you can do while pregnant:

  • Dumbbell row: An exercise that strengthens the thoracic spine and helps maintain a strong posture.

    - There are several different variations on how you can do this exercise. Sitting on the cable machine at the gym, standing slightly forward or leaning forward against a bench with a dumbbell in one hand.

    - Breathe in and lift the dumbbell as high as you can in a rowing motion.

    - Controlledly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position while exhaling.


  • Glute kick back: Glute-centered exercises help build and support muscles that can promote improved balance in the body and reduce strain on the lower back. Here you can get more inspiration and exercises to train your glutes.

    - Stand on all fours with bent knees and toes in contact with the floor. Keep your hips over your knees and your hands directly under your shoulders.

    - Activate your core, while keeping the pelvis slightly pulled back and the ribs down. Remember not to bend your back.

    - Move your left leg back until your thigh is parallel to the ground.

    - Squeeze your left glute and hold the position briefly before returning to the starting position without the leg contacting the floor.

    - Do 10 repetitions on the left side before switching to the right side.


  • Good mornings: An effective exercise for back muscles, glutes and hamstrings.

    - Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, with a barbell on your shoulders (of course it's fine to do the exercise without weight).

    - Brace your core and then lean forward at the hip, while pushing your glutes back until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. You should then feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.

    - Pause here before returning to the upright position by pushing your hips forward. Make sure you push through your hamstrings and glutes.

    - The bigger you get, you may need to stand wider with your feet to achieve a good position and technique. As mentioned, choose what feels good to you, to do the exercise with or without weights.

Pregnancy yoga

Pregnancy yoga is a popular form of exercise that helps you both relax and stretch your body in a good way. Here are some examples of yoga exercises you can add to your pregnancy exercise routine:

  • Cat/Cow - A good exercise for the spine and can help relieve back pain, such as when you have pelvic girdle pain. Do this:

    - Stand on all fours with your hands on the mat, placed directly under your shoulders and with your knees under your hips

    - Breathe in and round your back while lowering your chin to your chest - feel how it stretches from the neck to the tailbone

    - Exhale and lower your back. Lift your head and tilt it back.

  • Squatting - A traditional sitting position in yoga, which both strengthens the legs, widens the pelvis and softens your hips.

  • Downward Dog - A well-known yoga position that both improves flexibility and strengthens the arms and legs, among other things.

    - Get on all fours with your hands just in front of your shoulders, palms down

    - Exhale and lift your knees off the ground, lift your butt and hips towards the ceiling

    - Try to stretch your heels down towards the floor

    Tip: If you notice that your lower back is rounding, you can try bending your knees a little to lengthen your back.

  • Childs Pose - The very aptly named Child's Pose is an exercise for feeling calm, resting, breathing and energizing.

    - Sit on your knees and lower your butt to your heels

    - Lower your chest, shoulders and head towards the floor

    - Choose whether you want your arms at your sides with palms facing down or whether you want to fold your arms under your forehead to support your head - do what feels best for you.

Learn more yoga in our article on yoga for beginners and here to learn effective Yin Yoga poses. Of course, you'll also find plenty of stylish yoga clothes here at Björn Borg - just as comfortable during the workout session as for the upcoming stroller walks.

Comfortable relaxation exercises

In addition to your usual training routine, it is a good idea to unwind, connect with your body and do nice relaxation exercises and meditation. In addition to the pregnancy yoga exercises above, here you can also get examples of mindfulness relaxation exercises and Breathwork breathing exercises you can do anywhere. Perfect both before you go to bed after a long day and to start the day with.

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Pregnancy workouts

Advice on strength training for pregnant women

Strength training is highly recommended during pregnancy, of course at a safe level and as always that you do what feels good.

During pregnancy, you have more of the hormone relaxin in your body, so the joints are a little more elastic, so you may not be able to handle the same level as before. Reduce the weights and do fewer repetitions, and adapt to your body and the changes that occur.

From the 16th week of pregnancy onwards, you should also avoid lying on your back when you do strength training, to avoid the vena cava syndrome. Do the strength training sitting, standing or lying on your side instead.

Here you can find more inspiration on strength training you can do at home and strength training workout plan for the gym.

Pregnancy workouts

Running when pregnant

If you don't usually run at all or are not used to running, pregnancy may not be the best time to pick up this hobby. If you usually include running in your training and are used to it, then there is no problem to continue running even during pregnancy - on the contrary, this type of cardio training is good.


All women and pregnancies are different, as always listen to your body and don't run if it hurts or feels too uncomfortable.


As always, remember to have a good pair of running shoes that provide the right cushioning and comfort. It can also be good to use support socks and to run on slightly softer surfaces if possible.


Pregnancy may not be the time to max out intervals or break personal records. Run to feel good and keep your pulse and fitness up. It should feel good in the body and not hurt.


Here you can read more about interval running, running technique and plyometric training.

Of course, you will also find a wide range of women's running clothes here at Björn Borg.

PREGNANCY WORKOUTS

Exercise during the first trimester

During the first trimester of pregnancy, i.e. the first three months, you can do much the same exercise as before, with continued intensity.


However, it is often that in these first three months you can feel bad as a pregnant woman, with a lot of nausea and fatigue.


Listen to your body, if you don't feel completely at your best, replace the sweaty workout with a walk so you get some air and exercise.


During all trimesters of pregnancy (and of course also training when not pregnant) it is important to warm up properly, to stretch and cool down after the workout, and to drink a lot of water.

PREGNANCY WORKOUTS

Exercise during the second trimester

Many pregnant women feel that their energy returns in the second trimester, after the first trimester often consisted of fatigue as well as nausea.


Listen to your body, the stomach grows at a faster rate and you may need to reduce both weight resistance and intensity of your training sessions.


Think about breathing and not overexerting yourself or holding your breath during exercises.


The back and pelvic floor become more and more stressed the further into the pregnancy you get. However, it is still positive to train and strengthen these areas, as long as it feels good in the body.


It is good to avoid loads on a leg, such as lunges. Exercises on the back and exercises that involve jumping should also be avoided. Also think about reducing the weight of the dumbbells so that you are not lifting too heavy now.

PREGNANCY WORKOUTS

Exercise during the third trimester

During the third and final trimester of pregnancy, you are, not surprisingly, at your most restricted. A lot of focus now is on preparing the body for the upcoming birth.


You can continue training as long as your body feels good, but due to the increased weight and shortness of breath during the final sprint, it is a good idea to slow down a bit.


Forms of exercise that are beneficial now are, for example, pregnancy yoga, swimming or water aerobics, as well as walking and stability exercises. A pilates ball is a good tool for doing various kegel and pelvic floor exercises to soften the body before the upcoming birth.

Exercises and forms of training to avoid during pregnancy

It is positive to exercise and move during pregnancy. It improves your health and training, and a good stretch can also often help relieve stiffness and some ailments in, for example, the back.

As always, it is important to listen to your body, especially if you are pregnant. Adjust weights and intensity according to your conditions. Exercises that previously went without problems may become more difficult now and some are good to avoid altogether. If any exercise hurts or feels uncomfortable, exclude it from your training routine.

There are also various sports and activities that you should avoid while you are pregnant. Here are some examples:

  • Avoid training exercises on your back after week 16 to reduce the risk of a drop in blood pressure

  • Avoid jumping exercises as it increases pressure on the pelvis, which can cause discomfort when you are pregnant, especially from the second trimester onwards

  • Martial arts

  • Diving

  • Halfway into the pregnancy and onwards, it is good to avoid tough contact sports

  • It is good to avoid sports where there is a high risk of falling and injuring the stomach, such as skating and horse riding

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