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Resistance Training - Pregnancy

Resistance Training During Pregnancy

In recent years, it has become clear that exercising when pregnant can be safe as well as beneficial. Pregnant mothers can maintain their muscle mass while pregnant, help to offset some of the necessary weight gain and better prepare for labor by staying fit. However, exercise will gradually need to change as you reach full-term. Resistance training can still be a wonderful way to exercise, but a few changes need to be made to ensure the safety of both the mother and her child.

Never Start a New Routine Without Speaking To Your Doctor
Women who already do regular resistance training will not typically have an issue with continuing after falling pregnant. However, you should always speak with your doctor first and confirm that nothing is contraindicated. Generally, starting a new form of exercise is not recommended for pregnant women, and neither is increasing intensity or duration of existing exercise plans.

Monitor Your Heart Rate
The general rule of thumb for pregnant women is to never exceed a heart rate of 140 beats per minute. While you may be able to discuss this specific number with your physician, the key to remember is that you will need to monitor your heart rate. Invest in a heart rate monitor or check it by hand to ensure you are in the safe zone.

Skip Maximum Static Lifts
If you are used to lifting heavy weights, you may need to reassess how you lift. You should not hold your breath at any time as this reduces oxygen to your baby. Reducing the weight per repetition may make it easier for you to continue breathing as you exercise.

Eliminate Exercises Done on Your Back
A staple of resistance training is the weight bench, and many women recline on their backs in order to work the triceps and chest. When you fall pregnant, you should begin to eliminate any work done by on your back. Incorporate the same types of exercises done while standing upright instead.

Don't Be Afraid to Modify
If you can no longer handle the same weight or even positions, that doesn't mean you have to stop resistance training altogether. Simple be prepared to make modifications for your lower heart rate and expanding belly, and you can still reap the benefits of exercise.

Resistance training during pregnancy is not just possible, it has benefits for many women. With physician approval, you can still maintain muscle mass and strength in preparation of labor, which may be the biggest fitness test of all. 

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