Pregnancy Workouts: Exercise Like a Celebrity
Get fit for delivery day—and beyond—with these quick, prenatal strengthening routines designed by one of Hollywood's most popular fitness trainers.
Harley Pasternak is the guy behind the entertainment industry's hottest bodies (no exaggeration!). He trains celebrity moms Megan Fox, Hilary Duff, Alicia Keys, Jessica Simpson, and Milla Jovovich. Pasternak's latest client? His wife, Jessica. The couple's baby daughter, Liv, was born this spring. "Regular exercise is especially key during pregnancy," the proud new papa says. "It helps with so many things: your mood, heart rate, and blood glucose levels, as well as having some sense of control over your body, which is easy to lose when you're expecting and feel as if the baby is taking over." Being fit can also make your delivery easier—you'll have more strength and endurance—and help you get your body back faster afterward. If those reasons aren't incentive enough, there's good evidence that working out during pregnancy can boost your newborn's brain development."Regular exercise is especially key during pregnancy," the proud new papa says. "It helps with so many things: your mood, heart rate, and blood glucose levels, as well as having some sense of control over your body, which is easy to lose when you're expecting and feel as if the baby is taking over." Being fit can also make your delivery easier—you'll have more strength and endurance—and help you get your body back faster afterward. If those reasons aren't incentive enough, there's good evidence that working out during pregnancy can boost your newborn's brain development.
The basic plan Do one or two sets of each of the following three routines once a week. They work all of your major muscles, especially your arms, core, legs, and back—the four areas you need to strengthen to carry a baby around. You can follow this exclusive regimen throughout your whole pregnancy, as long as you're feeling good. All you need to get started is your doctor's okay; a set of 3-, 5-, or 8-pound weights; and a little space in your living room to get moving. Lace up your sneakers and let's go!
Workout 1: Total-body tune-up
You'll feel more energized all day long after doing these simple toners.
1. Shoulder raise. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft, a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, and weights touching in front of your thighs. (If your bump gets in the way, start with dumbbells by your sides.) Slowly lift arms out to sides to shoulder height, elbows slightly bent; pause, then lower to the starting position. Do 15 reps.
2. Lateral lunge. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms bent in front of your chest. Take a big step to the side with your left leg, then shift your hips back and bend your left knee 90 degrees. (Keep your back upright.) Push through your left heel, step back to the starting position. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides and do 10 to 15 more.
3. Bird dog. Get down on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders, knees under hips. Pull your belly button in toward your spine and slowly lift and extend your left arm and right leg; pause, then lower back down to the starting position. Immediately repeat on the other side, lifting and extending the right arm and left leg. Do 20 reps.
Workout 2: Stand tall!
You don't even have to get down on the ground with these three moves.
1. Standing side bend. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees soft, holding a dumbbell in your left hand, arm extended by your side, palm facing your thigh; place your right hand on your hip. Keeping your back straight and your head up, slowly lean to your left as far as possible, bending sideways at the waist and lowering the weight toward the floor. Keep the rest of your body stationary. Pause, slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Do 20 reps, then switch sides and do 20 more.
2. Bent-over row. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, a weight in each hand, palms facing each other. Lean forward, bending at the hips, and extend arms toward the floor under shoulders. Bend elbows and slowly lift weights to your chest; pause, then lower to starting position. Do 15 to 20 reps.
3. Sumo squat. Hold the end of a weight with both hands below your belly; place feet more than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Slowly bend knees, lowering butt until knees are bent 90 degrees (keep your chest up and back straight); press through your heels, return to starting position. Do 15 to 20 reps.
Workout 3: Finish strong
Sure, you can do a plank pose. Channel your inner mom-to-be confidence!
1. Modified plank. Get down on your knees, place palms flat on floor, elbows directly under shoulders; lift hips, straighten arms, and extend legs behind you until you are in a push-up position. If you prefer, you can lean on forearms in a plank position. Your body should form one long line from your heels to your shoulders. Hold here, keeping your core engaged (abs pulled in tight), for 30 seconds.
2. Triceps extension. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, keeping the knees soft and holding one dumbbell with both hands, your arms straight above your shoulders. Slowly bend your elbows and lower the dumbbell behind your head until elbows form a 90-degree angle. Raise the weight back to starting position. Do 15 reps.
3. Stiff-leg lift. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing the front of your legs. Keeping the head and chest up and shoulders back, slowly push your hips back and lower the weights toward the floor. (You should feel this in your butt and hamstrings.) Return to starting position. Do 15 reps.
Originally published in American Baby magazine in August 2014.
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