Weight training while pregnant... is it right? Is it safe?
There are many differing opinions in regards to this topic.
The safest and most productive activities are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines, and low-impact aerobics.
However, if you prefer strength training, it is safe - as long as you do low impact, low weight bearing exercises. Weight training may also help minimise aches and pains.
Read the following article to find out more...
There are a number of benefits that have been linked to those who did train during pregnancy...
- Less risk of problems during child birth - training during pregnancy allows one to focus on natural movement, good alignment habits, mobility work and labor preparation exercises.
- A quicker post natal recover - After pregnancy it takes a lot of strength to get back on your feet and begin walking again. It is recommended to keep your legs strong during pregnancy to make this step slightly easier.
- Less incidence of aches and pains
- May reduce headaches
Happy endorphins are released during exercise. One will feel more feelings of wellbeing, happiness and self image.
- Higher energy levels
- Increased flexibilty
- Increased aerobic capacity
- Better blood circulation
Greater muscle strength and coordination, which will help adjusting to gained weight during pregnancy and changes in balance.
- Can prevent pregnancy-related constipation
Free weight Vs. Weight Machines
Weight machines are particularly recommended as they control your range of motion. This is important, as during pregnancy, your joints become more flexible and loose. A weight machine will reduce the risk of potentially moving outside your range of motion. However, if you like free weight exercises, there is no harm to continue this method, as long as it is performed safely and correctly.
It is recommended that if you are weight training aim to do 1 or 2 sets of 8-12 reps. Be mindful your weight are low and you are able to perform repetitions properly and comfortably. It is also crucial that after your first trimester or pregnancy, you avoid all exercises while lying on your back.
Furthermore, please steer clear and avoid any machine with padding that press against the belly. Also avoid any lifting overhead as this kind of motion can increase the curve in your lower back.
Best Machines: Seated cable row, lat pulldown
Pregnancy Benefit: During pregnancy, you breasts get larger. Due to this your shoulder can round forward. Strengthening and maintaining the muscles between your shoulder blades will help help counteract the slump.
Best Machine: Seated chest-press
Pregnancy Benefit: It's important to create muscle balance in your upper body by working your pecs.
Best Machines: Biceps and triceps
Pregnancy Benefit: Very soon you are going to be carrying many items at once e.g. you baby, grocery bags, baby bag etc. It is important to keep your arms strong.
Best Machines: Leg extension and seated leg-curl
Pregnancy Benefit: Your quadriceps and hamstrings bear the weight of your pregnancy as your belly grows.
Majority of exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy. Just ensure you stay safe, smart and don't overdo anything. If you find anything is causing you pain, stop immediately. It is also highly important you follow any instructions from your doctor. Remember to breathe during training and drink plenty of water.