Are you currently pregnant and curious about working out during the third trimester of pregnancy. I am thrilled to feature my friend, Amanda Perry, via this guest post. Amanda is currently pregnant with her second baby and in her third trimester of pregnancy. I asked Amanda a series of questions and her responses are below.
Amanda Perry is the co-owner of Skill of Strength. She spends the majority of her time managing marketing and operations for Skill of Strength, but also trains clients, teaches adult group training classes and facilitates online nutrition groups.
Additionally, Amanda runs a blog and website called Sistas of Strength, dedicated to providing high-quality information about women’s health and fitness. Her goal is to help women discover their full potential by adopting a positive mindset, training smart (not more) and eating awesome food (instead of constant dieting).
Amanda loves working with women who are interested in getting and staying fit prior to becoming pregnant, during pregnancy and once they become mothers. She also loves helping clients lose body fat through a combination of appropriate workouts and nutrition.
What Amanda loves most in life is spending time with her family and friends. She loves training as a way to relieve stress and simply to be strong. Her other favorite things include pull-ups, red wine, dark chocolate, coffee, sunshine and Lake Winnipesaukee.
Here are her thoughts regarding third trimester pregnancy training.
- What does your typical third-trimester prenatal workout look like?
Most of my workouts during the third trimester consist mainly of lifting weights and walking. Once or twice a week I’ll mix things up and do a more conditioning-based training session, either with kettlebell complexes and/or completing of a bunch of different exercises in a circuit-style.
Strength workouts are usually anywhere from 30-45 minutes, conditioning workouts are about 40 minutes and leisure walks are anywhere from 10-60 minutes depending on weather and how much time I have!
Here’s what a week of training during my third trimester typically looks like:
- Strength: Squats, military press, pull-ups
- Leisure walk
- Off or walk
- Strength: Lunges, band walks, single arm chest press, chin-ups, farmers walks
- Leisure Walk
- Conditioning: Usually includes picking a whole bunch of exercises like kettlebell swings, medball slams, sled pushes, bike, battle ropes, etc. and completing them at random.
- Strength: Deadlifts, pull-ups, inverted rows, overhead carry
- Leisure walk
- Leisure walk
- Kettlebell complex: Usually includes goblet squats, military presses, lunges and kettlebell swings with lighter weights and more reps.
- Have you needed to make any modifications to your workouts through the third trimester?
I have been fortunate enough to train through both of my pregnancies. I absolutely made some modifications to my training during different trimesters of pregnancy and even week-to-week at times, depending on how I was feeling.
Prior to getting pregnant this time I was training pretty hard and feeling quite strong. I was training 5 days a week, similar to the schedule above, but with heavier weights and higher intensity. On my strength training days I almost always finished with 10-20 minutes of metabolic conditioning, often times quite intense. I’ve replaced a lot of that high intensity conditioning work with lighter leisure walking, especially during first trimester and in late third trimester.
A few exercises I’ve avoided during second and third trimesters:
- Anything that has me lying on my back for a long period of time. I still do Turkish Get Ups from this position, but I avoid things like deadbugs or chest press. For chest press I simply use an incline bench.
- Barbell bridges for (hopefully) obvious reasons. I have been doing single leg hip thrusts instead.
- Running and jumping. Ouch.
- Super duper heavy lifting. I still lift heavy-ish, but nothing like a one-rep max number. For example, I deadlift 145lb at the most right now when my max is just over 200lb.
The biggest thing I emphasize in training during pregnancy is to listen to what your body is telling you. During pregnancy is not the time to set any crazy PR’s or push through pain. You should aim to leave each workout feeling better than when you started.
- What are the benefits of working out during your third trimester?
The benefits of working out during your third trimester include many of the same benefits of working out when you’re not pregnant! Exercise promotes improved cardiovascular health, lower risk of disease, improved immune function, better sleep, better sex drive, higher energy levels and more!
A few benefits more specific to training during pregnancy include:
- You’re likely to gain less weight during pregnancy
- You decrease your risk of gestational diabetes
- Labor and delivery may be easier
- You’ll likely have more energy, sleep better and keep some anxiety (commonly associated with pregnancy) at bay
- You may experience less back pain
- You’ll likely bounce back more quickly after baby is born
- Your child may even be healthier as some studies have shown that babies who were exposed to exercise in utero have healthier hearts, less chance of obesity and greater athletic potential!
As you can see from the list above, which only scratches the surface, there are many benefits of working out during all trimesters of your pregnancy, barring any complications or doctors orders or course!
Not only will you feel better physically, but training during pregnancy can keep you a bit more sane during a stressful time and can help keep your self-confidence up during a time when it may be hard to accept some of the changes your body is going through.
- What are the challenges you’ve had working out during pregnancy?
Between exhaustion, raging hormones and anxiety it can be difficult to stay motivated to train during pregnancy!
First trimester was the WORST. There were days I just wanted to crawl back into bed, but as a gym owner and mom to a 3-year-old that was usually not an option.
My first trimester workouts were generally pretty short, 30 minutes or less. I stuck to strength OR conditioning on any given day and I wasn’t lifting much weight, at least not for me. I was tired. I stayed as active as possible, but my nutrition was far from spot on and to be honest, a lot of days I just wasn’t feeling it.
Workouts during the beginning of my pregnancy were shorter and much less intense than normal. Second trimester was the best time to train. I had so much energy and almost everything felt good! I added in more conditioning again and found myself lifting heavier weights.
During early third trimester I felt great and there weren’t too many additional modifications that I had to make besides decreasing the amount of pull-ups I did (weighted pull-ups are no joke!) and decreasing weight on some exercises, like deadlifts and squats. I’ve eliminated anything that is super high intensity or anything that is really heavy (think close to 1 rep max).
- Are you still doing core work during your third trimester?
Yes! It’s important to note that you can still train your core during pregnancy by using exercises that are safe and effective and steering clear of anything that doesn’t feel right to you (yup, there I go again…listen to your body), and anything that puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your abdominals.
My favorite core exercise? Pull-ups! Yes, they are a core exercise…they are an “almost everything” exercise. ☺ I also love farmers walks, overhead walks, suitcase carries, side planks, military presses (yup, they are a core exercise too!), and pallof presses.
Core exercises I avoid during pregnancy include sit-ups, front-loaded exercises, such as front planks, pushups and mountain climbers, and supine exercises where you have to lie on your back for a long time. As mentioned above, I still do things like Turkish Get Ups, which require me to be on my back, but only for a short time. I’ve had clients who have to completely avoid supine exercises because they feel immediately nauseas when they’re on their backs.
Please note: I am not a doctor. You should get clearance from your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Additionally, what feels “light” or like an “easy workout” for me may be one of the toughest ones you’ve done in a long time so please use caution and use your head. What I am doing isn’t necessarily right for you.
Connect with Amanda on social media:
Her credentials include:
- Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola College
- Certified Personal Trainer through National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT)
- Functional Movement Screen Certified Specialist (FMS)
- Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Expert
- #FitFluential Ambassador