Strength Training While Pregnant

I’ve been receiving a lot of messages lately regarding the concerns of strength training while pregnant.

The truth is, it is totally safe and highly recommended to continue your strength training routine throughout your pregnancy granted you are having no complications. If you are having complications, or are a high-risk pregnancy, it is crucial to follow your doctors recommendations and get his/her “OK” to exercise.

Some warning signs and reasons to discontinue exercise and seek medical advice would include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Persistent headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf swelling (in one or both legs)
  • Preterm labor
  • Excessive fatigue or chest palpitations
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Unexplained abdominal pain
  • Insufficient weight gain (less than 1kg/month, or 2.2 lbs/month, during last two trimesters)

*Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

So far, I am thankful to say I have been having a very easy pregnancy. For that reason I have continued my strength training routine in the gym 4 to 5 days a week. Below you can find a sample of some of the workouts I have been doing each week.

When lifting while pregnant it is extremely important to become smart about your exercise program. By this I mean, pregnancy is not a time to try to gain a lot of strength, lean out, or train like you are training for the next big fitness competition. For me … this is something that is hard to do! I have to be honest. BUT this period is a time to be smart and once your little one is born you will have plenty of time to jump back in to full gear and get your body back.

Some tips from me to you:

  • Avoid exercise to exhaustion.
  • Avoid lifting to fatigue during sets.
  • Avoid supine exercises after your first trimester.
  • Avoid holding your breath during lifts! (very important!!)
  • Avoid raising your heart rate to near maximal levels.
  • DO make sure you listen to your body.
  • DO drink plenty of water during your exercise session.
  • DO take extra rest between sets if needed.
  • DO drop your weights a little.



  • Upper back muscles,
  • Glutes,
  • Quadriceps
  • Core
  • Pelvic floor (kegels, kegels, and more kegels!).


  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Lower back
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves



(I am now 19 weeks and still continuing a similar strength training routine)


  • Olympic Bar Wide Squats 4×15
  • EZ Bar Stiff Leg Deadlifts 4×15
  • EZ Bar Reverse Lunge to Balance 4×15 ea
  • Bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squat 4×15 ea
  • Seated Knee Extension 4×20
  • Seated Hamstring Curl 4×20


BACK & BI’s:

  • Seated Lat Pulldown 4×12
  • Straight Arm Lat Pulldown 4×12
  • EZ Bar Bent Over Row – (Hands Wide) 4×15
  • DB 1 Arm Bent Over Row 4×15 ea
  • EZ Bar Bicep Curls 4×20
  • TRX Rows 4×20



  • Seated Chest Press 4×15
  • Standing Cable Fly 4×15
  • Incline DB Chest Press 4×15
  • Standing Triceps Extension with Rope 4×15
  • Push Ups 3×20



  • EZ Bar Overhead Press 4×15
  • DB Lateral Raise 4×15
  • DB Overhead Press (1,1,2) 4×10
  • DB Front Raises 4×15
  • DB Reverse Fly 4×15


On Day 5 I will typically add in a general upper body workout or RPM class (lower resistance and intensity then pre-pregnancy).

Remember, these are just sample workouts for what I have been doing throughout my pregnancy so far. I do pay close attention to how I am feeling during and after every workout and if my body is talking to me (eg, I feel a little lightheaded or dizzy), I will back down or even just finish up with some light cardio.

Stay tuned for more workouts and updates. As the weeks go on I will be including more home-based workouts and if you guys have any questions for me please feel free to send them my way!

– KLW xo


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Kristy Lee Wilson