February 01, 2017

The Most Important Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines - 1 of 3


guidelines for strength training a pregnant client

From MostFit Athlete and CSCS Colleen Flaherty

Training pregnant clients can be intimidating. You’re not only helping one human, there are two to consider. The good news is that research has proved a variety of ways in which women can exercise without harm to fetus. It’s simply a matter of knowing the basics and how you can apply it to your style of training. Remember, there are more things a pregnant women CAN do then can’t.

  • Abdominals/transverse stretch making them weak and can create spinal instability. No sit ups, GHD, toes to bar, extreme twisting, risky movements.
  • Hyperlordosis of lower back increases due to fetal growth. This can increase risk of lower back ache. Ensure you’re coaching a posterior pelvic tilt with core bracing to counter this.
  • Relaxin relaxes ligaments creating joint instability, tighter muscles. It varies woman to woman. Plyometrics, hanging, might become too risky.
  • Women should avoid rising body temperature above 102 degrees in first trimester due to increased risk of birth defects. Moderate temperature work environments, light clothing, plenty of hydration.
  • Women should avoid lying on back beginning in 2nd trimester.
  • Be gentle with plyometric/complex movements due to Relaxin and risk of falling or hitting abdomen. Ex: bar muscle ups, cleans, snatch, box jumps. Sub these movements out with other pieces of equipment or different movements to attain the same goal.
  • Caution heavy lifting due to joint laxity, core stability, breathing patterns. If she is a solid mover, she can continue lifting heavy based on how she feels. We encourage scaling with 5-8RM due to already high core and pelvic floor stress.
  • Encourage women to listen to their bodies and how they’re feeling.
  • Talk test - this is a way to test her work capacity. A good work zone is when she takes breaths every 3-4 words. Anything less is in risky territory.

These are small changes that you can make gradually as pregnancy progresses. Remember, focus on ALL the positive things she CAN do! Pregnancy is filled with a lot of fear-mongers both in her head and in the world around her. She needs a person in her corner telling her she is capable, strong, badass!