"I look at prenatal fitness as a nine-month program to prepare your body for the biggest physical event that it will ever go through," Kloots, who is expecting her first child next month, tells me. "You’ve signed up for a marathon, and everyday before that race day you need to train for it." She explains that she likes to think about getting ready for the big event—which is, you know, child delivery—in three parts.
First comes cardio to help build your endurance and stamina, because "you don’t know if your labor will be 8 hours or 28 hours, so you need to prepare your body go the distance," says Kloots. Second comes upper body work to help you maintain posture during pregnancy and beyond because, according to Kloots, "strong upper bodies and backs to support growing belly is very important but even more important is how you most likely will be holding your baby for more hours than you’ve ever held anything before." And third comes your lower body, which includes your pelvic floor, glutes, and legs. "Pushing your baby out during labor really uses every muscle in your body, but especially your legs! A strong pelvic floor will only help you recover after birth," says Kloots. "Once you have your baby you are on your feet a lot, holding and bouncy your baby so again strong lower bodies are very important."
Kloots has created an entire workout—adorably called "AK! Baby Bump"—based on these principles, and here, she shares four moves that any expectant mom can make the most out of. Do each move for one minute each, and repeat the series 3 times for a full 15-minute circuit. Kloots recommends this series for women in any trimester of pregnancy, but be sure to listen to your body, and check with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Here's how to do an at-home pregnancy workout
Perform one regular jumping jack, then do an alternating leg jumping jack to make the move more low impact. Make sure to reach your arms long above your head and spread your legs wide. Focus on your diaphragmatic breath and tighten your Kegels on the exhale.
2. Upper Body
Sit on the edge of a bench/couch/chair with your hands slightly under your hips and your fingers slightly turned out to the corners. Slide you bottom off the bench and bring your right leg over your left knee. Come down to a tricep dip and extend your right leg parallel to the floor and return. Switch to the left side so that you alternate one rep side to side. Be sure to keep your shoulders back and head up to keep your shoulders over your hips. And keep your back hugging whatever prop you are using, which helps you work on posture as you strengthen your triceps.
3. Lower Body
This exercise works your glutes, and also tones your leg in all angels—from your quads and hamstrings to your outer and inner thighs. Start with both feet together and your hands extended forward. Reach your right leg back to a deep lunge, then come forward to balance on your left leg with your right knee lifted. Tighten your glutes and your transverse abdominals as you bring your knee forward and balance. Hold for two seconds. Then, extend your right leg into a side lunge, and come back to your standing balance with your right knee lifted. Repeat for one minute on the right leg, then repeat on the left.
4. Cardio with a punch
Reach your right heel forward and raise both hands up, lengthening through your muscles, for four reps. Then step out to the side with your right foot and punch across your body with your right arm for for reps. Repeat on the left side (with four reps of each move) and keep alternating for one minute.
The way you workout before, during and after you give birth is your prerogative, which is why we love the way this woman is changing the conversation about post-baby bodies. And here's why Kayla Itsines swore by the Mediterranean diet during her pregnancy... and beyond.
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