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Resistance Training, Postpartum

What is the Best Form of Exercise During Pregnancy?

By Joe Talarico on Aug 16, 2021 9:00:00 AM
4 Minutes Reading Time


Pregnancy is a time where your body is making huge changes. Certain muscles are getting stretched out (and thus weaker), other muscles are being forced forward (weaker back muscles), and your core and stability may decrease. The biggest thing to keep in mind throughout your pregnancy is to stay proactive in these areas.

Resistance Training

Overall you should be incorporating 2-3 days of resistance training during your pregnancy. As you enter your 2nd trimester you can bump it up to 3-4 days (one of which being a mobility day), and then taper back down to 1-2 during the 3rd trimester. Focusing on compound movements such as chest press, rows, overhead press, deadlifts, and squats will hit all your muscles while also making sure your core and stabilizing muscles stay strong. The biggest issue women have comes post pregnancy. They lose control of their back and core muscles due to the added weight pulling them forward. If you can make sure to keep those muscles activated and engaged, you will help speed up the rate at which those muscles recover afterwards.

Use tempo work in replace of higher intensity loads. Focus on pauses at the bottom of squats to engage that pelvic floor while still providing a challenging stimulus for your workouts. In the first trimester, focus on split stance work, or exercises on the physioball that will further challenge your core while doing normal exercises like chest press and alternating single arm cable rows.

Posture Focus

It is good to emphasize a lot of your workouts on back work and leg work. Your hips and flexibility of your low back will be challenged and stretched through your nine months. By incorporating exercises that address these areas you will help prevent potential injury or mobility issues that arise afterward.

Core Work

Doing wide stance squats and deadlifts, as well as kegel work throughout your workout regimen will play a big role in keeping that pelvic floor strong. This is one of the most common areas women experience issues. Using mobility drills like a 90/90 stretch will help alleviate hip pain and range of motion throughout this time.  

Core exercises - wood chops, side planks, deadbugs, and turkish get ups


Try to steer away from any jerky, or bouncing movements. Focus instead of swimming, light walks, and anything that is easy on your joints. Remember, this isn’t the time to push your body. We are choosing routines that are easy on your body. Your energy will fluctuate throughout your term and we need to acknowledge this. It’s totally okay to miss a workout or replace a resistance training day with some light cardio. The overarching idea is not to be hard on yourself.

Resistance training is a really great habit to implement before, during and after pregnancy. We aren’t doing it to get you swole like most people think. It’s to help get you to the best possible version of yourself throughout your pregnancy. Every exercise should have a function and purpose towards helping you stay strong, mobile, and stable. We aren’t pushing heavy weights for the sake of it. We are proactively finding the different issues that may come up and providing the best solution towards mitigating the negative effects. Ultimately listen to your body! Your hormones are changing, and your energy levels are constantly shifting.

The Resistance Training Revolution | By Sal Di Stefano

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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