Pregnancy workout swaps

My body awareness is so different (and better!) than it was before pregnancy. Since my experiences were so different each time, I had to really tune in and decide when I need to take breaks, when I felt energized and should take advantage of it, and when I would feel better to get a little activity in, even if it was something small. Even when I really just wanted to sit on the couch, eat seaweed snacks and crave poptarts, I still aimed to get in my daily workout. Some days this was walking outside with Bell, while others, it’s a full-up cardio and weights sesh. Even though my workouts changed dramatically during both pregnancies, I was able to remain consistent throughout, and modify along the way.


Here are some of the swap-outs I used, as well as my fave preg appropriate exercises. 

[Just posting some of the swaps I’ve made, since many of you have asked. Pregnancy is a delicate time to change up your workout routine if you’re not used to something, so as always, use your own judgment and talk to a doc before making any fitness changes]

Lower back

1st trimester: Stability ball back extensions, deadlifts, superman

2nd: Deadlifts (lighter weight), spinal balance w a pulse

3rd:  Cat cows, good mornings


I did a lot of research on working abs during pregnancy, as I’ve heard mixed things about it. From what I’ve read, it’s a good thing to work your core throughout pregnancy, because the birth process uses strength from your legs and from your core (to push the baby out!). Also, it will be SO much easier to get your pre-baby abs back if the muscle strength is still there. I forget where I read this, but it said basically along the lines of using a balloon covered with tape to represent abdominal muscles. Imagine the tape in stands taped onto the balloon tightly in order to represent strong ab muscles. Now picture another balloon covered in loosely taped tape to represent weaker ab muscles. Now mentally pop the balloons. Which one do you think will be able to recover faster?? Exactly.

The thing is, you don’t want to do ab exercises lying on your back, as it can disrupt blood flow to the baby, so I made some modifications.

1st trimester: Everything under the sun. Sit-ups, weighted crunches, frog crunches, the sprinter, circle obliques, etc. etc.

2nd trimester: Every plank under the sun. Side planks, walking planks, up and down planks, the list goes on. I’ve also done hanging leg raises, gentle oblique tilts, and leg raises and crunches with the top part of my body propped up to a 45* angle.

3rd trimester: Planks and modified planks, spinal balance, cat/cow, abdominal pulls (gently drawing my belly up and in as I exhale, relaxing and expanding on the inhale. I like to this of it as giving the baby a soft hug)


1st trimester: Supine chest flyes, supine chest presses

2nd trimester: Standing chest flyes and chest presses using a cable machine

3rd trimester: chest presses on an incline bench, standing TRX presses


Everything I did for shoulders (lat raises, overhead presses, bent-over flyes, press and twist) I can still do in my second trimester.

One of my all-time fave shoulder exercises is the side-laying lateral raise– suitable for all stages of pregnancy.

{Why was I wearing a jacket for a summer workout video? Because I was freshly preg with Liv, looking bloated already and trying to hide it} 😉

Triceps, back and biceps

Triceps, back and biceps exercises have also remained the same. Some fave tricep exercises: dip, kickback, cable overhead extension, cable tricep pressdown.

All-time favorite back/biceps exercise: assisted pullups.


Legs exercises remained pretty standard. I bumped up my leg exercises because I wanted them to be super strong for delivery day – walking around, squatting and kneeling for hours on end. During my second pregnancy, all of those barre workouts came in handy!

Lunge and squat variations were frequent during my pregnancies, as well as weighted step-ups, leg presses (which I stopped when my belly was too large), side-laying leg raise combos, and cable kickbacks.

I hope this helps some of you who had questions about swap-outs <3

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