Weight Lifting During Pregnancy

I'm 15 weeks pregnant and want to maintain my weight lifting routine. What exercises are safe to do? I'm wondering specifically about squats, leg presses, hip abductor machines and ab exercises. --iVillager merella


Continue doing what exercises feel comfortable, but don't strain yourself by attempting new, unfamiliar lifts or by using too much resistance. Exercises that mimic your daily activities, like step-ups, split squats and mini lunges, are best. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Squats are okay, but you should decrease the range of motion-- never flex your knees more than 90 degrees. You can increase the squat workout by slowing down the tempo. Try lowering slowly to a count of three or four.
  • Leg presses are a good exercise in the first trimester, but after that you should not work out on your back for more than 30 seconds at a time. Leg presses give you a good workout and keep your lower abdominals tight to protect your back.
  • Hip abductor machines are great. Building strength in your hips will help you overcome postural changes during your pregnancy. Be sure to keep your lower abdominals tight to avoid hyper extending your back, and be cautious if you have sciatic symptoms, such as pain, numbness or tingling in your buttocks and down the back of your legs. (You should see your doctor if you have these symptoms.)
  • For your abs, cut out traditional sit-ups and focus on gaining control of your lower abdominals. Sitting on a physio-ball and doing kegel exercises will help strengthen them safely.

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